Tom Brokaw rails against sexual harassment allegations

Tom Brokaw says he did not intend for this "rough draft" of a letter to be widely read.But it was published on...

Posted: Apr 28, 2018 2:34 PM
Updated: Apr 28, 2018 2:34 PM

Tom Brokaw says he did not intend for this "rough draft" of a letter to be widely read.

But it was published on Friday -- an extraordinary defense of his character and a repudiation of the sexual harassment allegations made by former NBC colleague Linda Vester. He describes Vester's statements to the press as a "drive by shooting."

Brokaw, the former anchor of "NBC Nightly News," is one of the country's best-known journalists. He is currently a special correspondent for NBC News. He feels his reputation is being besmirched. And he believes he is the real victim.

In the letter, which was sent to several colleagues, Brokaw said Vester is a "character assassin" with a "grudge against NBC News."

"She has unleashed a torrent of unsubstantiated criticism and attacks on me more than twenty years after I opened the door for her and a new job at Fox News," Brokaw said in the letter, a copy of which was obtained by CNNMoney.

Vester was a young reporter at NBC when, she alleges, Brokaw harassed her in the early 1990s.

"I was groped and assaulted by Tom Brokaw, then the anchor of 'NBC Nightly News,'" Vester said in a video interview with Variety.

Both Variety and The Washington Post interviewed Vester for stories that were published on Thursday.

The Post story was part of a broader examination of sexual harassment issues within NBC News.

Vester told The Post that she came forward because "NBC has failed to hire outside counsel to investigate a genuine, long-standing problem of sexual misconduct in the news division."

Vester's attorney on Friday reiterated this point in a statement written in response to Brokaw's letter, saying her client "observed that the company's response does not appear to be aimed at producing a safer and more equitable workplace for women."

NBC News chair Andy Lack told staffers in a note on Friday that "we take allegations such as these very seriously, and act on them quickly and decisively when the facts dictate."

After Today show host Matt Lauer was fired last year, Lack said at the time that an internal review was underway to determine "what happened and what we can do to build a culture of greater transparency, openness and respect for each other."

Lack said in his memo on Friday that the "review is nearing its conclusion."

Vester was a correspondent and anchor at NBC until 1999, when she moved to Fox News. She left Fox and the TV business in the mid-2000s.

Brokaw's Friday letter asserted that he played a key role in introducing Vester to Fox News boss Roger Ailes, who later hired her.

"When he got in trouble on sexual matters, not a peep from this woman," Brokaw wrote. Ailes, who passed away last year, left Fox News in 2016 amid sexual harassment allegations that he repeatedly denied.

Throughout the letter, Brokaw depicted Vester as a disgruntled ex-employee who left NBC "angry that she had failed in her pursuit of stardom."

"It is 4:00 am on the first day of my new life as an accused predator in the universe of American journalism," he wrote in the opening paragraph. "I was ambushed and then perp walked across the pages of The Washington Post and Variety as an avatar of male misogyny, taken to the guillotine and stripped of any honor and achievement I had earned in more than a half century of journalism and citizenship."

The controversy has prompted Brokaw to withdraw his name on Friday as the commencement speaker at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Connecticut.

After the letter was published by The Hollywood Reporter and quoted by other outlets, Brokaw told CNNMoney that it was "a rough draft" and "I did not intend for it to be published in that form."

He said he had finished the final version "just in time to hear the draft was unleashed."

He did not immediately respond to a request for further comment.

In the letter, Brokaw said "I am not a perfect person. I've made mistakes, personally and professionally."

But he said he "did not verbally and physically attack her" as described in the interviews.

Brokaw said, "I deeply resent the pain and anger she inflicted on my wife, daughters and granddaughters," adding, "I am proud of who I am as a husband, father, grandfather, journalist and citizen. Vester, the Washington Post and Variety cannot diminish that. But in this one woman piece of sensational claims they are trying."

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 666516

Reported Deaths: 12726
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion912711659
Lake48687890
Allen36102644
Hamilton32445398
St. Joseph30306514
Elkhart25510420
Vanderburgh21326382
Tippecanoe20220205
Johnson16466363
Porter16068281
Hendricks15944302
Clark12060182
Madison11799323
Vigo11685234
Monroe10419164
Delaware9891179
LaPorte9831199
Howard9112201
Kosciusko8597111
Bartholomew7522147
Hancock7462134
Warrick7451153
Floyd7263173
Wayne6661192
Grant6462158
Boone616691
Morgan6129128
Dubois5936112
Dearborn551270
Cass5485100
Marshall5451105
Henry542995
Noble513178
Jackson465567
Shelby463391
Lawrence4195113
Gibson405185
Harrison403265
Clinton397553
Montgomery391684
DeKalb387478
Miami358263
Knox357885
Whitley351238
Huntington349477
Steuben340055
Putnam333960
Wabash333176
Ripley327962
Adams325449
Jasper319143
White298152
Jefferson296274
Daviess285996
Fayette272756
Decatur271688
Greene262680
Posey261432
Wells259075
Scott251850
LaGrange242470
Clay241644
Randolph226077
Spencer219430
Jennings216744
Washington213027
Sullivan203739
Fountain202842
Starke189951
Owen183654
Fulton179737
Jay178728
Carroll176919
Perry174036
Orange171451
Rush165622
Vermillion161543
Franklin159935
Tipton149541
Parke140216
Pike128533
Blackford120627
Pulaski107644
Newton96832
Brown95340
Benton92413
Crawford92213
Martin80314
Warren75914
Switzerland7558
Union67510
Ohio54211
Unassigned0427

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 977736

Reported Deaths: 17501
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1129551251
Cuyahoga968561881
Hamilton738821067
Montgomery47506923
Summit40668831
Butler35827531
Lucas35779720
Stark29581826
Warren22574275
Lorain22190424
Mahoning19578551
Lake18545332
Clermont18519205
Delaware16597121
Licking15089194
Fairfield14644188
Trumbull14423424
Greene13659221
Medina13517237
Clark12376256
Wood11656170
Portage11127172
Allen10820216
Richland10372188
Miami10059194
Muskingum8238117
Columbiana8168210
Pickaway8094111
Tuscarawas8075232
Marion8020127
Wayne7933199
Erie6961146
Ross6173132
Geauga6114142
Hancock6030121
Scioto600488
Ashtabula5998154
Lawrence527586
Union516341
Darke5052116
Belmont4999137
Huron4859108
Jefferson4836137
Sandusky4798112
Washington474396
Seneca4734111
Athens466149
Mercer459781
Auglaize456582
Shelby442679
Knox4054105
Putnam400593
Madison395455
Fulton383161
Ashland382683
Brown374852
Defiance373788
Crawford360098
Logan357373
Preble353987
Clinton342455
Highland328451
Ottawa325371
Williams303568
Jackson291846
Champaign290949
Guernsey288845
Perry271148
Fayette269943
Morrow261437
Henry247861
Hardin247359
Holmes244497
Coshocton240756
Van Wert230157
Gallia223938
Adams218239
Pike217228
Wyandot212450
Hocking195054
Carroll182143
Paulding161034
Meigs136031
Noble129233
Monroe117237
Morgan102120
Harrison100731
Vinton76613
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Clear
32° wxIcon
Hi: 46° Lo: 18°
Feels Like: 26°
Angola
Clear
28° wxIcon
Hi: 44° Lo: 19°
Feels Like: 21°
Huntington
Clear
30° wxIcon
Hi: 47° Lo: 20°
Feels Like: 26°
Fort Wayne
Clear
32° wxIcon
Hi: 46° Lo: 21°
Feels Like: 26°
Lima
Partly Cloudy
26° wxIcon
Hi: 45° Lo: 20°
Feels Like: 16°
Sunny Sunday
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events