Third woman accuses Tom Brokaw of sexual misconduct

Mary Reinholz claims Brokaw kissed her without her consent.

A third woman has accused Tom Brokaw, NBC News Special Correspondent, of sexual misconduct. (CREDIT: William B. Plowman/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)
A third woman has accused Tom Brokaw, NBC News Special Correspondent, of sexual misconduct. (CREDIT: William B. Plowman/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)

A third woman has come forward with accusations of sexual misconduct against longtime NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw.

Last week Variety and the Washington Post ran pieces on Brokaw, accusing him of sexual predation by a former NBC correspondent named Linda Vester. According to Vester,  in the 1990s, Brokaw tried to force her into kissing him on more than one occasion and groped her in a company conference room.

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Another woman, who spoke to the Post on the condition of anonymity, claimed Brokaw acted inappropriately toward her during the ’90s as well when she was a young production assistant and he was an anchor. Brokaw claims no such incident happened.

Now a third woman has come forward with similar accusations against Brokaw.

Mary Reinholz, a veteran reporter, claims that Brokaw, who was married at the time, attempted to kiss her 50 years ago after assisting her with a story.

“We talked and then, abruptly, he was embracing me and giving me a French kiss,” Reinholz wrote in The Villager.

“I pulled away, reminding him that he was married and a tryst was out of the question,” she wrote. “He said, ‘Yes, it would be unfair to Meredith,’ meaning his wife.”

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Reinholz said that although she initially “shrugged off” the encounter, it was Vester’s story and Brokaw’s disparaging response — the anchor claimed in a letter to colleagues that Vester had lied and took credit for her career — that prompted her to come forward with her story.

“I wouldn’t be writing this account if it wasn’t for the #MeToo movement and Brokaw’s disparaging remarks about Linda Vester […],” she wrote. “… Why would [these] women lie?”

Many were surprised when some of Brokaw’s female NBC News colleagues, including Rachel Maddow, signed a public letter of support for the anchor on Friday, in the wake of the original accusations. However, according to a report by Variety on Monday, many of those employees claimed they felt pressured to sign, after receiving an internal memo which read, “As always in cases where sexual misconduct is alleged, we should be scrupulous in reflecting all sides.”

“We had no choice, particularly the lower level staffers,” an anonymous source told Page Six. “The letter was being handed around the office and the unspoken threat was that if your name was not on it, there would be some repercussion down the road.”

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NBC also allegedly instructed on-air reporters on how they should frame Brokaw’s side of the story. “Include relevant portions of Brokaw’s denial, his email and the email in support of him, signed by more than 60 colleagues,” the memo reportedly read.

Brokaw’s letter, which he emailed to coworkers at roughly 4 a.m. on Friday, goes to great lengths to deny the accusations, all while victim-blaming and taking credit for his accuser’s career.

“I am not a perfect person,” he wrote. “I’ve made mistakes, personally and professionally. But as I write this at dawn on the morning after a drive by shooting by Vester, the Washington Post and Variety I am stunned by the free ride given a woman with a grudge against NBC News, no distinctive credentials or issue passions while at Fox.”

Brokaw has not yet responded to the most recent allegation against him.