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The former NBC News anchor accusing Tom Brokaw of sexual harassment wants people to know that even “cultural icons” can be creeps.
“Some people might be tempted to believe all harassers look and act like Harvey Weinstein — it’s not true,” Linda Vester told “Good Morning America” on Thursday.
Vester, 52, claims the 78-year-old former newsman tried to forcibly kiss her two times in the ’90s.
“Some of them look like cultural icons, like Tom Brokaw. And they can be decent during the day to a lot of people and actually be really kind a lot of the time, and yet still have hidden behavior,” she added.
In a Washington Post opinion piece published Wednesday, she said this was the reason she decided to come forward last month with her allegations against the legendary anchor.
“I am not filing a lawsuit; I am not asking NBC or Brokaw for money. I came forward for a simple reason: to let the public know that otherwise good men — men who treat women well or are even their champions — can also commit acts of sexual harassment,” she wrote.
“Not all harassers are cartoonish bogeymen who mistreat every woman in their path,” she added. “Many men who harass have been well-liked and respected inside the organization and publicly. They are, like all of us, multidimensional.”
Vester claims Brokaw groped her in an NBC News conference room at the start of her career and that he attempted to force her to kiss him, once in a New York hotel room and once the following year in a London restaurant.
In a statement through an NBC spokesperson, Brokaw, who retired in 2004, said he never made any “romantic overtures towards” Vester at any time.
In an email to select NBC employees late last month, Brokaw called Vester a “character assassin” and questioned her motives, the Washington Post reported.
He dismissed her as someone with “limited success at NBC News, a modest career at Fox and a reputation as a colleague who had trouble with the truth.”
“I am angry, hurt and unmoored from what I thought would be the final passage of my life and career, a mix of written and broadcast journalism,” he wrote. “Instead I am facing a long list of grievances from a former colleague who left NBC News angry that she had failed in her pursuit of stardom.”
“What was her goal?” he added. “Hard to believe it wasn’t much more Look At Me than Me Too.”
Vesper told ABC she expected a denial but not “such a personal attack.”
“What I am concerned about is the message that that sends to women inside NBC News,” she said. “About whether or not they are safe to report somebody who is powerful, if they get that kind of backlash.”
In her op-ed, Vesper also blasted NBC News for allegedly pressuring women at the company to sign a letter in support of Brokaw, as Page Six reported last month.
“The letter of support demonstrates another difficult issue we must come to terms with if the #MeToo movement is going to bring about real change,” she wrote.
Two other women have also accused Brokaw of unwanted advances.
Freelance writer Mary Reinholz said Brokaw French kissed her inside her LA home during the 1960s after they met at a press conference and he helped her with a story. Another anonymous woman has also claimed he propositioned her at NBC in the ’90s.
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