Whereas our collective consideration remains to be, for God-knows-what cause, on the White Home Correspondents’ Dinner and Michelle Wolf’s scathing take-down of a few of President Trump’s prime girls officers, one other story is quietly slipping beneath the radar: allegations of sexual harassment towards one in all America’s strongest and revered tv anchors, Tom Brokaw.
A former colleague, Linda Vester, has claimed Brokaw “groped and assaulted” her within the ’90s. An unnamed former assistant has additionally alleged Brokaw made undesirable advances. Vester has supplied journals to Selection that she says again up her account.
Brokaw indignantly denied the declare, likening the claims to a “drive-by capturing” and dismissing Vester as merely “a former colleague who left NBC Information indignant that she had failed in her pursuit of stardom.”
“I made no romantic overtures in direction of her at the moment or some other,” he wrote.
However in that very same assertion, he goes on to contradict himself:
“As I keep in mind, she was at one finish of a settee, I used to be on the different. It was late and I had been up for 24 hours. As I bought as much as go away I’ll have leaned over for a perfunctory goodnight kiss, however my reminiscence is that it occurred on the door — on the cheek.”
Towards the backdrop of our eye-opening nationwide schooling on sexual harassment, this admission ought to have been cause sufficient to method this story with seriousness and concern. As an alternative, his colleagues — his feminine colleagues, thoughts you — have inexplicably rushed to his protection.
Regardless of their presumed respect for Brokaw, a 22-year NBC Nightly Information anchor, few of Brokaw’s present colleagues had been even on the community 25 years in the past when the conduct was alleged to have occurred.
Nonetheless fewer had been on the NBC Information bureau in Denver or London, the place no less than two incidents reportedly occurred. And presumably none was in Vester’s New York Metropolis lodge room, the place she says one other incident occurred.
And but, that hasn’t stopped 115 of them, together with huge names like Rachel Maddow, Mika Brzezinski, Andrea Mitchell and Maria Shriver, from signing a letter testifying to Brokaw’s “great decency and integrity.”
One notable absence? Megyn Kelly, who cautioned on her NBC morning present earlier this week: “You don’t know what you do not know, and that’s not in any method to impugn Tom, who I really like and who’s been so good to me. Simply saying, you don’t know what you don’t know.”
Greta Van Susteren and Geraldo Rivera, two Fox Information anchors and former Kelly colleagues, realized this the exhausting means. When Gretchen Carlson alleged harassment towards Fox Information head Roger Ailes, each had been fast to defend him. Van Susteren insisted, “He simply doesn’t do that stuff. If this had been happening, I might have heard about it.”
In fact, Van Susteren didn’t even work within the New York headquarters the place a lot of Ailes’ harassment passed off, later acknowledging she labored “200 miles from the “scene of the crimes” in Washington. Each she and Rivera ultimately walked again their defenses.
For the reason that Brokaw letter was written, a 3rd allegation has emerged, by a former reporter Mary Reinholz, who claims that within the late ’60s, Brokaw (nonetheless then married) abruptly embraced and kissed her whereas in her mom’s cottage.
Now, it seems some feminine staffers at NBC Information are complaining that they felt strain to signal the Brokaw letter. One anonymously informed the New York Publish, “We felt compelled to signal the letter supporting Brokaw. We had no selection, significantly the decrease stage staffers.” And “This was all about popping out in drive to guard NBC’s golden boy; the community’s popularity is tied to Brokaw . . . If extra girls come ahead, that’s a giant downside.”
One other in that very same report mentioned she felt intimidated by the highly effective names on the letter: “When you’ve gotten over 100 girls like Andrea Mitchell signing a letter of assist with out understanding the info, it’s fairly scary . . . The letter may have a chilling impact on different girls coming ahead.”
The lesson right here is, as a lot as you assume you might know somebody, you by no means actually know them totally. And until you had been there, you don’t truly know something a couple of particular incident or incidents.
Banding collectively to signal a letter defending a prime veteran information man is strictly the type of factor that creates a tradition of intimidation. Who would really feel comfy coming ahead about sexual harassment allegations now?
Speeding to the protection of an accused sexual harasser is simply as unhealthy as dashing to sentence one.