By Brian Flood
Published September 30, 2019
A woman who accused NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw of sexual misconduct is “very disappointed in Rachel Maddow” and has called on women in power at the Peacock Network to demand a proper investigation of her claims.
Linda Vester, a former NBC correspondent and former Fox News anchor, alleged in 2018 that Brokaw made unwanted advances toward her twice in the 1990s, including a move to forcibly kiss Vester, who was in her 20s at the time.
She has since emerged as a champion of the #MeToo movement and repeatedly has questioned the way NBC and parent company Comcast handled the situation.
Brokaw denied the allegations and had scores of female colleagues vouch for his character. NBC News Chairman Andrew Lack has addressed the allegations only briefly, and Brokaw remains at the scandal-plagued network.
Vester spoke to New York Media’s The Cut about whether or not coming forward was worth it -- and blasted Maddow in the process -- in a feature published Monday.
“I thought coming forward would be empowering and would help other women,” Vester told The Cut. “A short dredging up of old memories and then it would be over. I was wrong about all of that.”
Vester said Brokaw’s female colleagues rushing to his defense was “shocking” and essentially signaled, “if you come forward, other women will shame you.” More than 60 women, including some of NBC News’ biggest stars, signed a letter supporting Brokaw only two days after Vester first went public with her claims.
“Some people who I had worked with -- one of whom had called herself my mentor -- had signed that letter. I was also very disappointed in Rachel Maddow. I think NBC did a great disservice to its female employees by conducting what I consider a sham internal inquiry.”
“Some people who I had worked with -- one of whom had called herself my mentor -- had signed that letter. I was also very disappointed in Rachel Maddow,” Vester said. “I think NBC did a great disservice to its female employees by conducting what I consider a sham internal inquiry.”
Vester then said she thought women in power at NBC News “like Savannah Guthrie and Mika Brzezinski and Rachel Maddow” should call for a proper investigation.
“It’s one thing for them to be marketed as female power and all for the sisterhood. But they’re not using their megaphone to make women truly safe,” Vester said.
NBC News did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
“It’s one thing for them to be marketed as female power and all for the sisterhood. But they’re not using their megaphone to make women truly safe."
When reached for additional comment, Vester told Fox News, through her attorney, that she tried to arrange an appearance on “The Rachel Maddow Show” shortly after the MSNBC host signed the letter but never received a response.
MSNBC did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Back in April 2018, The New York Post reported that NBC declined to launch a full internal investigation into the claims made against Brokaw.
“She’s given her side, and he’s responded. They don’t feel there’s anything left to investigate in the case,’’ an NBC source told the Post. “We may make further inquiries if more information emerges.”
Lack sent a memo to staffers noting that NBC took similar allegations “very seriously,” pointing to the ousting of former “Today’’ host Matt Lauer as proof, the Post reported.
However, NBC News kept its review of Lauer’s misconduct in-house, as opposed to enlisting a white-shoe law firm -- which is typically standard when dealing with sex harassment. Despite calls for an independent investigator, the Lauer review was headed by NBCUniversal General Counsel Kim Harris. It eventually found that NBC News management was oblivious to Lauer’s behavior.
Lack also oversaw NBC News when it famously refused to air Farrow’s reporting on sexual harassment from now-disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein. Farrow took his work to the prestigious New Yorker, where it won a Pulitzer Prize and helped launch the #MeToo movement.
Farrow is expected to tell his side of the story in an upcoming book, “Catch and Kill.”
Fox News’ Frank Miles contributed to this report.