Much like an alien from V, you can’t peer too closely at a celebrity in 2018 without his face being ripped off to reveal him as a possible sexual predator. Former NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw, 78, is the latest calming voice of newscasting reason to be accused of sexually harassing co-workers (and ruining milk and cookies for everyone). Tom must make a helluva pumpernickel spinach dip for the annual Celebrity Newscaster Christmas Party, because 64 of his former colleagues (including Rachel Maddow, Maria Shriver, and NBC News’ Andrea Mitchell) have co-signed an open letter in his defense. Looks like the #TimesUp female solidarity clock’s batteries need changing.
The letter of support was released yesterday and was signed by colleagues (referring to themselves as “producers, correspondents, anchors, directors, executives, researchers, personal assistants, editors and technical staff“) who have worked with Brokaw beginning in 1976 and across four decades, according to People. The missive begins by acknowledging that sexual harassment in the workplace exists, but implies that it just didn’t happen to Tom’s accusers. Or it did, but Tom’s a super good guy so we should let it slide? It’s sort of unclear.
“As professional women, we fully endorse the conversation around abuse of power in the workplace. In the context of that conversation, we would like to share our perspectives on working with Tom Brokaw.”
Tom is described as “a man of tremendous decency and integrity.” (A man of “tremendous decency” wouldn’t allow the concept of milk and cookies to be besmirched so!)
“Tom has treated each of us with fairness and respect. He has given each of us opportunities for advancement and championed our successes throughout our careers. As we have advanced across industries — news, publishing, law, business and government — Tom has been a valued source of counsel and support. We know him to be a man of tremendous decency and integrity.”
And that’s pretty much it. None of it comes right out and says “Tom couldn’t have done this! He has a wise, friendly face and always wore the right tie on camera!,” but there you go.
Another celebrity newslady missed the deadline for signing but tweeted her support.
Add me to the list. https://t.co/KpoPznW67m
— Mika Brzezinski (@morningmika) April 28, 2018
According to Variety and The Washington Post, two women have come forward to accuse Tom of sexual chicanery in the workplace back in the 1990s. Former NBC News correspondent Linda Vester claims that Tom tried it with her thrice. In addition, an unnamed former NBC production assistant says that, in 1993, Tom tried to warm her hands with his boobs and invited her into his office to discuss job prospects. She didn’t go.
Tom has vehemently denied the accusations.
As Allison pointed out, the schtick with the warming of the hands and the milk and cookies sounds downright Christmas-ical. This is probably what made Maria Shriver sign off on the letter. You don’t eff with the Yuletide on Maria’s watch. She’s so into Christmas that she leaves her lights up all year long and is probably going to inspire The Great Christmas Light Fight: Celebrity Edition.