Linda Vester, a former NBC correspondent and former Fox News anchor, said Wednesday that NBC News’ culture of sexual misconduct against women has barely changed in the year since the network fired Matt Lauer amid a cloud of disturbing harassment claims.
Vester said on "Tucker Carlson Tonight" that NBC’s response was niether thorough nor honest.
“The truth wasn’t in there,” she told Tucker Carlson, noting that NBC management cared more about the bottom line rather than the women who work there.
“They published results of the so-called investigation but the truth wasn't in there," Vester said. "Because at least six women, at least six women victimized by Matt Lauer, according to them telling me personally or people close to them telling me personally were never interviewed. They had damaged details about Lauer and others in management who allegedly protected him. Nothing happened. They weren't spoken to properly. There are four members, on-air talent who worked closely with Matt who were never interviewed. They too had important information, and I believe the network knew it. Not only implicated Matt, but implicated other men in positions of power at NBC News. That never got investigated. There has to be a question of why?” NBC Universal released a highly anticipated internal report on Lauer that “found no evidence” of wrongdoing by NBC News leadership. The network has been criticized for keeping the investigation in-house, while other media organizations have hired outside firms to investigate similar allegations.
Vester also alleged she knows about two victims of misconduct from the 1980s by NBC News Chairman Andy Lack. She questioned whether this bombshell is the reason behind NBC’s smokescreen.
The network did not immediately respond to Fox News' request for comment.
Vester wrote in a Fox News commentary: “NBC News may have conducted a limited ‘culture review,’ but I continue to hear from women working there that harassment still goes unpunished, that they still face intimidation, and that they still fear for their careers if they complain. This should not be surprising, because NBC has seemingly done nothing more than take empty steps custom-built for press releases.”
As Fox News previously reported, 12 NBC employees claimed they were victims of sexual harassment by Lauer, who was fired in November 2017. Lauer exposed himself to one woman while the two were in his office and asked her to touch him, an anonymous woman reported. Another said they had sex in the middle of the day in his office.
Lauer has remained mostly mum following the allegations.
Vester told Carlson the issue with NBC needs to be dealt with at the top, by the board of directors of Comcast, which owns NBCUniversal.
“They are directors of a publicly traded company. They are answerable to shareholders and the public," he said. "This is a broadcaster that is regulated by the FCC. So these board of directors, they cannot get away with burying their heads in the sand. These are real women whose lives and careers and reputations are destroyed. They can't ignore them.”
“How is that a family company?” she added, questioning Comcast’s ethics and morals.
She challenged that all of “the alleged predators at NBC News” be investigated: “get to the bottom of it and clean out what is wrong with NBC News.”
Comcast did not respond to Fox News' request for comment.
Vester alleged in April that NBC anchor Tom Brokaw made unwanted advances toward her twice during the 1990s, including a move to forcibly kiss Vester, who was in her 20s at the time.
Brokaw denied the allegations, and had scores of female colleagues vouch for his character.
Vester penned a scathing op-ed in the Washington Post in May headlined, “Why I revealed that Tom Brokaw harassed me.” Vester wrote that “not all harassers are cartoonish bogeymen who mistreat every woman in their path,” and said it isn’t relevant if a man treated some colleagues with respect if the same man harassed other colleagues. “Many men who harass have been well-liked and respected inside the organization and publicly. They are, like all of us, multidimensional,” she wrote.
Brokaw called Vester “a former colleague who left NBC News angry that she had failed in her pursuit of stardom,” and said she "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.”