NBC News legend Tom Brokaw is facing some disturbing allegations of sexual misconduct, from former co-workers who say he forced himself on them.
NBC and MSNBC, where Brokaw often makes appearances, now have a decision to make. After championing the #MeToo movement, the networks would now be seen as hypocritical if they do not suspend or fire Brokaw.
Brokaw still holds a lot of power at NBC, as his name and reputation alone bring recognition and gravitas to the competitive world of news. As the figurehead of NBC News, the new allegations threaten the image of the network, however.
NBC is not above cutting ties with scandal-ridden figures. NBC abruptly fired Today Show host Matt Lauer last year over sexual harassment allegations.
NBC News and MSNBC are facing a tough decision after regular “Morning Joe” panelist and NBC News legend Tom Brokaw was accused of sexual misconduct — with the accusations coming roughly six months after the morning show dumped regular contributor Mark Halperin.
“Morning Joe” quickly canned Halperin, who was also regular panelist, in October after he was accused of sexual misconduct by multiple women. Like the accusations against Brokaw, those against Halperin happened many years ago. But Halperin wasn’t NBC News royalty like Brokaw, who has denied all the accusations against him.
Perhaps even more notably, NBC fired its biggest news star, Matt Lauer, in November amid allegations of sexual misconduct.
Brokaw’s current title is “NBC News special correspondent,” and he makes appearances on “Morning Joe” and NBC News programs such as “Meet the Press” as part of that role. MSNBC recently used Brokaw, 78, on air for a tribute to Barbara Bush but his “Morning Joe” appearances have become less frequent in recent memory.
Brokaw has vehemently denied the allegations, but NBC is not talking about the situation.
MSNBC and NBC News did not respond when asked if Brokaw would continue to appear on “Morning Joe” or other MSNBC programs. NBC News has not yet publicly commented on Brokaw since the allegations were published, but the story was covered on NBC’s “Today.”
The newsman still commands enormous influence inside NBC and is believed to have played a key role in deposing his “Nightly News” successor, Brian Williams, after Williams got caught embellishing stories. Brokaw, ever a savvy operator, is also believed to have influence with the bosses at NBCUniversal and its parent company Comcast.
According to The Washington Post, Brokaw made unwanted moves on Linda Vester, a former NBC correspondent and former Fox News anchor, twice during the 1990s, including a move to forcibly kiss Vester, who was in her 20s at the time.
The report also detailed the claims of an anonymous woman who told the outlet Brokaw acted inappropriately toward her during her time as a production assistant in the 1990s. Brokaw was the anchor of “NBC Nightly News” at the time.
MSNBC is facing personnel problems on several fronts already.
Ironically, the Brokaw allegations could save embattled MSNBC star Joy Reid, who is in the middle of her own scandal after holes were poked in her story that homophobic slurs were planted on her pre-fame blog by hackers. NBC News chairman Andy Lack has remained silent on the Brokaw and Reid situations and has been criticized for a lack of transparency amid a series of sexual harassment scandals.
“How can they fire a black woman for some insensitive comments she made years ago when they keep on board a millionaire white male sexual predator and the white male executives who’ve enabled people like him?” an NBC insider posited to Fox News.
Meanwhile, “Morning Joe” co-host Mika Brzezinski upset some of Halperin’s accusers last December when she reported on air that she had tried to arrange a meeting so the now-disgraced political analyst could apologize.
Here is video from NBC, which surprisingly is candid on the allegations against one of their own.