Last Thursday, two former NBC News employees claimed in separate reports that they’d been sexually harassed by former NBC Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw. In Variety, Linda Vester, a former NBC anchor herself, told Variety that Brokaw forcibly tried to kiss her twice, groped her, and showed up at her hotel room uninvited. A few hours later, the Washington Post published the account of an anonymous woman, a former NBC production assistant, who said Brokaw touched her without her consent. Both of the women alleged the unwanted advances occurred in the ’90s. Brokaw denied these allegations.
On Tuesday, a third woman accused Brokaw of unwanted advances. Freelance journalist Mary Reinholz claimed in a first-person essay for New York City weekly newspaper The Villager, that Brokaw kissed her without her consent 50 years ago; at the time, he was helping her with an investigative story. Reinholz writes in her account:
“For the record, Brokaw made a pass at me 50 years ago in my rented hillside house not long after he had obtained, on my request, the arrest record of a fraudulent advertiser for the now-defunct Los Angeles Free Press, granddaddy of the Southern California alternative press….We talked and then, abruptly, he was embracing me and giving me a French kiss. I pulled away, reminding him that he was married and a tryst was out of the question. He said, ‘Yes, it would be unfair to Meredith,’ meaning his wife.”
Reinholz goes on to writes of the incident that she “shrugged it off as progressive women of my generation were wont to do,” but that the situation made her “uncomfortable.” It was the #MeToo movement and the stories of the two women who already made accusations against Brokaw that incited her to come forward. Reinholz writes, “Why would the two women lie?”
Over the weekend, more than 60 women who are current and former NBC employees wrote a letter vouching for Brokaw. Maria Shriver, Rachel Maddow, and Andrea Mitchell all notably signed it. Page Six reported on Monday that several NBC staffers felt coerced into signing the letter. An NBC News staffer told Page Six, “We felt forced to sign the letter supporting Brokaw. We had no choice, particularly the lower level staffers.”