Longtime NBC News journalist and anchor Tom Brokaw has fired back at the allegations made by Linda Vester, a former correspondent at the network who claims Brokaw sexually harassed her in the mid-90s.
In a lengthy letter sent to his colleagues on Friday, Brokaw disputed the 54-year-old Vester's story, which was published by Variety and the Washington Post Thursday night. Vester claims Brokaw made unwanted sexual advances toward her when they worked together more than a decade ago.
In the letter which was published by the L.A. Times on Friday, Brokaw calls Vester's accounts as a "drive by shooting" by the former correspondent, who he says has a grudge against NBC News because her career stalled.
"My family and friends are stunned and supportive. My NBC colleagues are bewildered that Vester, who had limited success at NBC News, a modest career at Fox and a reputation as a colleague who had trouble with the truth was suddenly the keeper of the flame of journalistic integrity.
In an interview published by Variety Thursday night, Vester alleges that Brokaw tried to kiss her in 1994 while she was staying at the Essex House Hotel in New York. A second incident also allegedly occurred when Brokaw showed up at her apartment when she was assigned to the London bureau there.
"I should not have gone but I emphatically did not verbally and physically attack her and suggest an affair in language right out of pulp fiction. She was coy, not frightened, filled with office gossip, including a recent rumor of an affair. As that discussion advanced she often reminded me she was a Catholic and that she was uncomfortable with my presence. So I left, 23 years later to be stunned by her melodramatic description of the meeting.
He says it was also her idea to meet at her London flat late at night in 1995.
"Again, her hospitality was straight forward with lots of pride in her reporting in the Congo and more questions about NY opportunities. As I remember, she was at one end of a sofa, I was at the other. It was late and I had been up for 24 hours. As I got up to leave I may have leaned over for a perfunctory goodnight kiss but my memory is that it happened at the door — on the cheek. No clenching her neck. That move she so vividly describes is NOT WHO I AM. Not in high school, college or thereafter."
Brokaw says he can't believe that Vester didn't talk to him in the first place about incidents 23-years ago.
"She couldn't pick up the phone and say, 'I'd like to talk. I have issues from those two meetings 20 years ago'? Instead she became a character assassin. Strip away all of the hyperbole and what has she achieved? What was her goal? Hard to believe it wasn't much more Look At Me than Me:Too."
When the L.A. Times asked Vester's lawyer about Brokaw's letter, he said that his client stood by her allegations.