More than 60 women have signed a letter supporting Tom Brokaw, the NBC News television journalist and author who was accused of sexual harassment by two women this week. The signers include MSNBC host Rachel Maddow and Andrea Mitchell, who joined NBC in 1978.
Allegations about Brokaw, who anchored NBC Nightly News for more than 20 years, were published in The Washington Post and Variety on April 26. The reports claimed that Brokaw, now 78, had sexually harassed an unnamed woman who worked as a production assistant in the 1990s, when Brokaw was the network’s chief anchor. They also detail the allegations of former NBC correspondent Linda Vester, who said the news anchor made unwanted advances, groped, and tried to forcibly kiss her during the 1990s. Brokaw has vigorously denied the allegations and said that his meetings with Vester were “were brief, cordial and appropriate.”
Vester told Variety that she was afraid to say anything in the 1990s because Brokaw was powerful and could destroy her career. In an email published by the Hollywood Reporter, Brokaw said Vester’s statements this week were a “drive by shooting” and suggested that she was “angry that she had failed in her pursuit of stardom.” Brokaw reportedly said the letter was a draft and wasn’t meant to be widely circulated.
The news service has been roiled by harassment allegations—NBC has said an investigation into conduct by former Today show host Matt Lauer, who was fired for sexual harassment, is nearing its conclusion. The Comcast-owned network says a culture assessment is also taking place, including in-person workplace behavior training. Vester criticized the news network for not using outside counsel in its review.
Here’s the letter from women who say they support Brokaw, as posted on Variety:
As professional women, we fully endorse the conversation around abuse of power in the workplace. In the context of that conversation, we would like to share our perspectives on working with Tom Brokaw.
We are current and former colleagues of Tom’s, who have worked with him over a period spanning four decades. We are producers, correspondents, anchors, directors, executives, researchers, personal assistants, editors and technical staff.
Tom has treated each of us with fairness and respect. He has given each of us opportunities for advancement and championed our successes throughout our careers. As we have advanced across industries—news, publishing, law, business and government—Tom has been a valued source of counsel and support. We know him to be a man of tremendous decency and integrity.
Anne Binford Allen
Christine Colvin Casper
Mary Laurence Flynn
Erika Beck Grothues
Susan Morris Holey
Audrey Beles Kolina
Mary Alice O’Rourke
Nancy Doyle Palmer
Elizabeth Vaughan Romaine
Clare Duffy Swift
Dee Dee Thomas