Legendary newsman Tom Brokaw issued a second statement about allegations that he was sexually inappropriate with a former NBC correspondent via an email to his colleagues.
The Hollywood Reporter obtained the communication and published it Friday in its entirety.
What's the background?
Linda Vester, a former NBC correspondent, accused Brokaw of making unwanted sexual advances in the 1990s.
Vester alleged that on one occasion when she was visiting Denver to cover the visit of Pope John Paul II in 1993, Brokaw approached her from behind and acted inappropriately.
“While I was standing there in the Denver bureau with my back to the door, from behind me, out of nowhere, Tom Brokaw walked up, put his hands on my waist and tickled me all up and down my waist,” she alleged.
“It was physically unpleasant and humiliating,” Vester said of the alleged incident. “I jumped a foot [and] looked the editor of ‘Nightly News’ in the eye. He looked back at me and his jaw dropped.”
Vester said that “no one did a thing,” and “there was nothing I could really do or say because I was so low on the totem pole.”
Brokaw reportedly tried to kiss her in a later incident that reportedly took place in New York City.
Vester said that the news anchor allegedly visited in her in her hotel room, where he tried to kiss her twice.
“I felt trapped, because it wasn’t a request,” she described. “It was more like an order.”
“I barely knew him and I didn’t work for his broadcast,” Vester added. “But when the most powerful man at the network sends you a computer message, you answer him.”
Through an NBC spokesperson, Brokaw responded to Vester’s allegations and said, “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,” the statement added.
What was in the email?
The Hollywood Reporter obtained the email, which they report the 78-year-old Brokaw "sent to a handful of NBC News colleagues."
In the email, Brokaw said, "It is 4:00 am on the first day of my new life as an accused predator in the universe of American journalism."
He added that as a result of the Post and Variety reports, he was "ambushed and then perp walked" across the outlets' pages, as what he called an "avatar of male misogyny."
"[I was] taken to the guillotine and stripped of any honor and achievement I had earned in more than a half century of journalism and citizenship," Brokaw explained, noting that the allegations made him feel "angry, hurt, and unmoored from what I thought would be the final passage of my life and career.
"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," he added, noting that it was he who "opened the door for her and a new job at Fox News."
Vester worked for NBC from 1989 until 1999, when she left to work for Fox News. Vester remained at Fox News until 2006.
"My family and friends are stunned and supportive," Brokaw wrote. "My NBC colleagues are bewildered that Vester, who had limited success at NBC News, a modest career at Fox and a reputation as a colleague who had trouble with the truth, was suddenly the keeper of the flame of journalistic integrity."
The correspondent — who "had trouble with the truth" — was "coy," Brokaw added, and "filled with office gossip, including a recent rumor of an affair."
What does Brokaw remember?
Brokaw's email noted that his recollection of any encounters with Vester were entirely different from the pictures she painted in the Post and in Variety.
"Some of her relatives by marriage are very close friends," Brokaw wrote. "She couldn’t pick up the phone and say, 'I’d like to talk. I have issues from those two meetings 20 years ago?' Instead she became a character assassin."
Brokaw noted that he deeply resents "the pain and anger [Vester] inflicted on my wife, daughters, and granddaughters," women he said are of "considerable success and passion about women's rights. "
"We’ll go on as a family that pursues social justice in medical emergency rooms, corporate offices, social therapy, African women’s empowerment and journalism," he added. "And no one woman’s assault can take that away."
He concluded that he is proud of who he is — as a husband, a father, a grandfather, a journalist, and a citizen.
"Vester, the Washington Post and Variety cannot diminish that," he wrote. "But in this one woman piece of sensational claims they are trying."