EXCLUSIVE: Tom Brokaw’s Accuser Fights Back
Tom Brokaw’s accuser Linda Vester insists she’s telling the truth about the famed newscaster allegedly assaulting her in the 1990s, individuals close to her told The Daily Caller News Foundation.
Sources close to Vester and those familiar with how NBC handled the accusations say that NBC knew about her accusations against Brokaw for over a month, yet there is no evidence that the company took any action against him.
Instead, the internal letter of support towards Brokaw signed by big names like Rachel Maddow and Mika Brzezinski actually had a chilling effect on women working at NBC, sources told TheDCNF and other reports confirm.
A report from The New York Post stated that female employees felt pressure to put their name on the “women’s letter” that extolled Brokaw as “a man of tremendous decency and integrity.”
Interestingly, the letter never defends Brokaw directly against Vester’s accusations, nor does it question the veracity of her claims. The letter simply says that Brokaw “has been a valued source of counsel and support.”
Despite these words of support, the letter has had no impact on Vester or her attorney Ari Wilkenfeld’s crusade for justice.
“My client stands by her allegations, she’s glad to see that important issues regarding sexual harassment are continuing to be discussed, she’ll have more to say very soon,” Wilkenfeld told TheDCNF.
An individual close to Vester also told TheDCNF that there’s little doubt she’s telling the truth about Brokaw.
“Linda is an honest reporter, and now a mother with children. It wouldn’t make sense for her to just all of a sudden make up a lie about a powerful figure like Brokaw decades later,” the individual told TheDCNF.
Brokaw released his own letter attacking Vester in late April, accusing her of having “trouble with the truth.”
“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,” part of his letter reads.
Those working at NBC are also concerned with how the company is treating its recent string of sexual assault allegations.
“Brokaw used to be a total dog, and everyone knows it,” an NBC insider told TheDCNF. Other NBC insiders expected other women to come forward after Vester.
Veteran reporter Mary Reinholz came forward Tuesday and accused Brokaw of making “a pass” at her 50 years ago.
“I wouldn’t be writing this account if it wasn’t for the #MeToo movement and Brokaw’s disparaging remarks about Linda Vester, a former NBC News reporter and war correspondent who accused him of groping and kissing her on two occasions and arriving at her hotel uninvited,” Reinholz wrote in The Villager.
In the wake of former Today Show star Matt Lauer’s exit after sexual misconduct allegations, NBC News Chairman Andy Lack announced a “cultural assessment” of the network. Instead of hiring an outside law firm, as companies hit with sexual misconduct allegations like Fox News have done in the past, NBC is simply undergoing an internal review.
An individual close to the “cultural assessment” expressed puzzlement at how NBC can guarantee a comprehensive review and take action if necessary when it is in the company’s own interest to minimize the fallout.
“The reason companies opt for external investigations is because they’re trying to send a message to their employees,” Wilkenfeld said.
NBC is known for taking a hardline position against news outlets that might print negative stories about the company.
The Washington Post, before printing its bombshell report featuring a number of employees speaking out against NBC’s sexual harassment policy, was threatened with a lawsuit by the company, according to individuals close to the reporting.
A spokesman from WaPo did not deny that NBC threatened the paper and said it “had nothing to share.”
‘The reason Linda came forward is because she saw and heard after the first complaint against Lauer that it looked like more women were afraid to come forward than ever, she felt that it was her duty to come forward and show just how far back this goes, to support other women and encourage others who feel empowered to come forward,’ Vester’s lawyer said.
NBC did not respond to a request for comment.
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