Former "NBC Nightly News" anchor Tom Brokaw was on the defensive on Thursday after Variety Magazine published an interview with a former NBC correspondent claiming Brokaw sexually harassed her.
Linda Vester, an NBC reporter for a decade from 1989 to 1999, told Variety that Brokaw physically tried to force her to kiss him, and groped her on NBC property. She also claimed that Brokaw showed up to her hotel room uninvited.
Variety confirmed that two of Vester's friends were told about Brokaw's alleged behavior around the time of the incidents.
In response to the allegations, Brokaw sent a statement through NBC to Variety stating, "I met with Linda Vester on two occasions, both at her request, 23 years ago because she wanted advice with respect to her career at NBC. The meetings were brief, cordial and appropriate, and despite Linda’s allegations, I made no romantic overtures towards her at that time or any other.”
There are also no other known claims of sexual harassment against Brokaw.
Vester told Variety that recent events at NBC, including revelations of alleged sexual harassment involving ex-Today Show host Matt Lauer, has prompted her to speak out.
Vester told Variety that the sexual advances began four years after she began her NBC career during Pope John Paul's 1993 visit to Denver.
"I’m standing there, and Tom Brokaw enters through the door and grabs me from behind and proceeds to tickle me up and down my waist," she said. "I jumped a foot and I looked at a guy who was the senior editor of “Nightly,” and his jaw was hanging open. Nobody acted like anything wrong was happening, but I was humiliated. I didn’t know Brokaw other than to say hello in the hall."
Vester said that she was also asked several times in 1994 to have drinks with Brokaw. Vester claimed that Brokaw also called her, saying he was coming over.
Vester said that 30 minutes later, Brokaw was at her door.
"He walked past me and sat down on the sofa in my suite," Vester told Variety. "He puts his arm on the back of the sofa and he said, 'I like our rat-a-tat-tat.' I thought it was a bizarre statement."
Vester added, "I could feel myself trembling. As I stood there, I asked in a frustrated and scared tone, 'What do you want from me?' And he gave me a look of annoyance like he couldn’t believe I didn’t get it. He said, 'An affair of more than passing affection.'"
Vester left NBC in 1999 to anchor a program for Fox News. Since leaving Fox News in 2005, she has been a stay-at-home mom.
To read Vester's full interview with Variety, click here.