Linda Vester, a former NBC News host, accused "NBC Nightly News" anchor Tom Brokaw of inappropriately grabbing her in a conference hall and forcibly trying to kiss her in a hotel on two separate occasions.

Vester started her broadcast career as an intern for local CBS affiliate WKRC-TV, where she worked with anchor Nick Clooney, actor George Clooney’s father. When she was working for CBS News, in Cairo, Egypt, she caught the attention of the NBC News team in 1989 and they wanted to groom her as a foreign correspondent and network talent, Mediaite reported. 

Vester was sent to work for NBC’s Tampa affiliate, WFLA-TV, in order to start her training. She went on to cover the Rwandan Civil War and the First Gulf War. She was promoted to the position of anchor at “NBC News at Sunrise” and at MSNBC in 1993. In 1999, Vester moved to Fox News Channel where she anchored shows like “FOXNews Live” and “DaySide with Linda Vester.”

Incidentally, in the past, Vester praised former FOX News chairman and CEO Roger Ailes, who was forced to resign from his positions in July 2016 after he was accused of sexual harassment in the workplace. In a 2014 Adweek interview, Vester said she saw her mentor in Ailes.

“In terms of Fox being number one there’s a good reason,” she said. “It’s because Roger understands viewing habits, viewers, and human psychology in a way that I’ve never seen anyone in the broadcasting industry get it.”

In 2005, Vester left the television industry to focus on being a stay-at-home mother. She currently lives in Manhattan, New York, with her husband and four children.

“I just really, really wanted to be a stay-at-home mom,” she told Adweek.  “I came to it late, I’d worked in television since I was 17, in high school, and met my husband late, and by the grace of God, got pregnant in my mid-thirties, and I thought, ‘I don’t want to miss anything!'”

In an interview with Variety, Vester said her first encounter with Brokaw was when she was covering Pope John Paul’s visit to Denver, Colorado, in 1993.

“We were in the Denver bureau, and there was a conference room. I’m standing there, and Tom Brokaw enters through the door and grabs me from behind and proceeds to tickle me up and down my waist,” Vester told the publication. “I jumped a foot and I looked at a guy who was the senior editor of ‘Nightly,’ and his jaw was hanging open. Nobody acted like anything wrong was happening, but I was humiliated.”

Vester said she was just a junior reporter compared to the famous news anchor that Brokaw was at the time and she had previously only exchanged niceties with him in the hallway.

In another instance in January 1994, Vester recalled that she was not particularly interested in Brokaw but he came to her hotel room anyway.

“He grabbed me behind my neck and tried to force me to kiss him. I was shocked to feel the amount of force and his full strength on me,” he said. “I could smell alcohol on his breath, but he was totally sober. He spoke clearly. He was in control of his faculties. I broke away and stood up and said, ‘Tom, I do not want to do this with you. If I did, I would leave for London with a loss of innocence and I don’t want to go down that road.’”

Tom Brokaw Tom Brokaw released a statement denying all the accusations against him. In this photo, Brokaw speaks at the International Rescue Committee's Annual Freedom Award benefit at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City, Nov. 9, 2011. Photo: Getty Images/ Mike Coppola

She added that Borkaw sat there for quite some time and then tried to kiss her again on his way out. He allegedly repeated similar advances the following year when he showed up at her apartment. Vester said she firmly rebuffed his actions a third time.

Brokaw released a statement, denying all the accusations brought against him by Vester: “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.”

Vester said women working for NBC are skeptical in reporting workplace harassment, lest they be branded in a negative light.

“There was a culture at NBC News, in my experience, where women who raise questions about misconduct get labeled as troublemakers,” Vester said, explaining why she did not come out with the allegations earlier. “It can torpedo your career. I already knew that, so I didn’t want to make any trouble.”