Tom Brokaw has been accused of sexual harassment by Linda Vester, a former war correspondent for NBC News. She’s shared her allegations with Variety, alleging that Brokaw — the lead anchor on NBC’s nightly news program for more than two decades as well as a host on both “Today” and “Meet the Press” — harassed and groped her in the early-to-mid 1990s.
Vester claims that the first incident took place in 1993, while she was covering Pope John Paul II’s trip to Denver, Colo. “We were in the Denver bureau, and there was a conference room. 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 tells Variety. “I jumped a foot and I looked at a guy who was the senior editor of ‘Nightly,’ and his jaw was hanging open. Nobody acted like anything wrong was happening, but I was humiliated.”
Vester says she didn’t report the incident for fear of retribution, thinking that it might end her career.
She also recounts two instances in which Brokaw made unwanted physical advances toward her. “He grabbed me behind my neck and tried to force me to kiss him,” Vester says of the first, which allegedly took place during the first week of January 1994. “I was shocked to feel the amount of force and his full strength on me. I could smell alcohol on his breath, but he was totally sober. He spoke clearly. He was in control of his faculties.”
Brokaw denies the allegations. “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 says via an NBC News spokesman. “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.”