Some female staffers at NBC say they were forced to sign letter supporting Brokaw

Some female staffers who work for NBCNews say they were forced by management to sign a letter supporting broadcasting icon Tom Brokwaw who was accused of sexually harassing at least two employees in the 1980s.

Former NBCNews reporter Linda Vester and an anonymous woman say Brokaw “groped and assaulted” her while another former staffer accuses him of unwanted advances.

More than 100 female employees at NBCNews signed a letter saying that Brokaw was “a man of tremendous decency and integrity.”

Page Six:

One NBC News staffer said, “We felt forced to sign the letter supporting Brokaw. We had no choice, particularly the lower level staffers. 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. Execs are watching to see who signed and who didn’t. This was all about coming out in force to protect NBC’s golden boy; the network’s reputation is tied to Brokaw . . . If more women come forward, that’s a big problem.”

Another insider said the powerful names on the letter could intimidate other victims. “When you have over 100 women like Andrea Mitchell signing a letter of support without knowing the facts, it’s pretty scary . . . The letter will have a chilling effect on other women coming forward.”

An NBC News rep said, “The letter is a purely grass-roots effort, led by women outside of the company who are motivated by their own support for Tom Brokaw . . . Management has played absolutely no role whatsoever.”

Except the letter was led by Goldman exec Liz Bowyer — who also happens to be a producer for Brokaw’s NBC doc unit and has worked on two of his books.

Meanwhile, Megyn Kelly cautioned her Brokaw-supporting colleagues that there could be more to this: “You don’t know what you don’t know, and that’s not in any way to impugn Tom, who I love and who’s been so good to me. Just saying, you don’t know what you don’t know.”

Why would NBCNews management care if Brokaw is laid low by the #MeToo movement? Even though he's been retired for years, Brokaw is still hugely respected in the industry and is part of the NBCNews brand. His face occassionally appears on NBC and MSNBC broadcasts, giving a patina of authority and gravitas to the network.

I'm sure the entire exercise was designed not only to clear Brokaw but to intimidate anyone else who might want to come forward. What's surprising is that a few women were willing to come forward and admit to the pressure being applied.

Message sent. Message received.