A letter of support for longtime NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw, signed by female staffers in light of the sexual harassment allegations against him, continues to raise eyebrows.
In a separate memo obtained by Variety, NBC News instructed its staff Monday on how to handle reporting on the sexual misconduct allegations plaguing Brokaw. The document urged staffers to be "scrupulous in reflecting all sides" and added: "Include relevant portions of Brokaw’s denial, his email and the email in support of him, signed by more than 60 colleagues."
But according to Page Six, not every woman who signed the letter did so because they believe in his character. In fact, some NBC female staffers say they "had no choice" but to sign the document.
"We felt forced to sign the letter supporting Brokaw. We had no choice, particularly the lower level staffers," an unnamed NBC staffer 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."
Another unnamed staffer told Page Six the letter could stop other women from coming forward with allegations against Brokaw, especially since power players such as Maddow and Mitchell signaled their support for him.
Last week, Brokaw was accused of sexual harassment by former NBC News correspondent Linda Vester as well as second, anonymous woman.
Vester said the anchor groped her and made unwanted sexual advances towards her in the mid 1990s. Brokaw denies the allegations, though he doesn't dispute the meetings Vester talked about took place. In an internal letter obtained by the Los Angeles Times, Brokaw called Vester's allegations a "drive-by shooting" and said she was a "character assassin."
A third woman, Mary Reinholz, alleged Tuesday that Brokaw also kissed her without her consent when she was a young reporter about 50 years ago.
If you have experienced sexual violence and are in need of crisis support, please call the RAINN Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).
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