On the heels of Bill Cosby being found guilty of sexual assault, here comes another one. This time, a network news icon.
Tom Brokaw can now join Matt Lauer and Charlie Rose in the #MeToo category. Page Six of the New York Post reveals:
A woman who was an NBC correspondent in the early 1990s has claimed legendary news anchor Tom Brokaw tickled her and tried kiss her on separate occasions while she worked there.
Linda Vester told Variety in an interview published Thursday that she was going public with the allegations because she was unhappy with how the network was handling sex-harassment allegations against former “Today” host Matt Lauer.
She alleged Brokaw tickled her in an NBC conference room in Denver in 1993 while they were covering a papal visit.
“I’m standing there, and Tom Brokaw enters through the door and grabs me from behind and proceeds to tickle me up and down my waist,” she says in a video interview.
“I jumped a foot and I looked at a guy who was the senior editor of ‘Nightly [News],’ and his jaw was hanging open. Nobody acted like anything wrong was happening, but I was humiliated.”
Vester also claimed Brokaw tried to kiss her in her hotel room in 1993, then again at a London restaurant the next year.
Brokaw, 78, who has been married since 1962 and retired in 2004, denied any misconduct.
“I met with Linda Vester on two occasions, both at her request, 23 years ago, because she wanted advice with respect to her career at NBC,” he said in a statement issued by NBC to Variety.
“The meetings were brief, cordial and appropriate, and despite Linda’s allegations, I made no romantic overtures towards her, at that time or any other.”
NBC did not respond to The Post’s request for comment on Thursday.
In her interview, Vester targeted what she called NBC’s sexist culture.
“There was a culture at NBC News, in my experience, where women who raise questions about misconduct get labeled as troublemakers,” she said. “It can torpedo your career.”
Her lawyer, Ari Wilkenfeld, said Vester wanted to “give her truthful account in the hope that other women will not have to endure what she did.”
“Linda is literally seeking nothing for herself. She comes forward at her own expense and at her own peril,” he said.
Wilkenfeld is also representing a woman who claims Lauer engaged in sexually inappropriate behavior toward her at the Sochi Olympics in 2014. He claims NBC did not do enough to protect the unidentified woman.
Lauer was fired from the “Today” show after that and other accusations came to the network’s attention.
As for Brokaw, a second woman told The Washington Post that he acted inappropriately toward her in the ’90s, when she was a young production assistant.
The details of that encounter were not revealed. Brokaw again denied any wrongdoing.
Is it surprising? Brokaw was king of the hill and retired to become the fatherly, respected journalist everyone supposes knows the news and treats all fairly. Except he doesn’t.
Looks like the only people who don’t know what’s going on are the network news people, doesn’t it?