Less than 10 days after speaking at Lipscomb’s annual Imagine event, journalist Tom Brokaw has been accused of sexual harassment by two women — former Middle East correspondent Linda Vester, and another woman, who worked as a production assistant in the 1990s.
Brokaw released a statement through NBC News concerning the allegations: “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.”
University spokesperson Kim Chaudoin spoke on behalf of Lipscomb, stating, “We do not have first-hand knowledge of the allegations against Mr. Brokaw, and will not comment on them.”
Vester told Variety and The Washington Post the harassment took place in NBC offices in Denver and New York in the 1990s. The longtime anchor of “Nightly News,” Brokaw reportedly made unwanted advances toward her on two separate occasions. Vester was in her 20s, and stated that the unwanted advances from Brokaw included a forcible attempt to kiss her.
According to the Post, the other woman, who wished to remain anonymous, said Brokaw “acted inappropriately toward her in the ’90s, when she was a young production assistant and he was an anchor. He said no such incident happened.”
Last Tuesday, on April 17, Brokaw was the featured speaker at Lipscomb’s Imagine event, where a record $23 million gift to the College of Business from an anonymous group of donors was announced.
Senior journalism major Lindsey Nance, along with SGA President and senior molecular biology major Carson Panovec, interviewed Brokaw in the Student Activities Center at the student Imagine event last week.
At the student event, Brokaw discussed his experiences as a journalist with NBC. He told students to “use intelligence, not emotion” when trying to make a difference in the world.
“Rage is not a policy,” he said. “If you want to change the country, it’s tough, you’ve got to organize.”
Additionally, at the 2017 Imagine event, former owner of the New Orleans Hornets George Shinn donated $15 million to Lipscomb. Shinn’s reputation, however, was also not without controversy.
The NBA owner was accused of kidnapping and raping a 28-year-old woman in 1997. Although he was not indicted, two more women also claimed he sexually harassed them.
This story was updated at 9:15 p.m. with the University’s statement.