Rachel Maddow added her name to a group of 65 powerful women in media who signed a public letter defending Tom Brokaw, the former NBC News anchor accused of sexual assault.
Variety and the Washington Post this week published the account of Linda Vester, a former Fox News anchor who said Brokaw pressured her 23 years ago while working as a correspondent at NBC to have an affair and twice forcibly kissed her.
Maddow has covered the #metoo campaign on her show and is one of the most influential women at NBC News, boasting the top ratings in cable news. While Maddow and the others — including Andrea Mitchell and Maria Shriver — defend Brokaw’s character based on their personal experiences, they don’t challenge the alleged victim specifically.
“As professional women, we fully endorse the conversation around abuse of power in the workplace,” read the letter, according to Variety. “In the context of that conversation, we would like to share our perspectives on working with Tom Brokaw.”
The women say, “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.”
A group of 36 women came forward initially to defend former senator Al Franken of Minnesota after he was accused of groping women. They had worked with the former comedian at Saturday Night Live. Franken ultimately left in disgrace after Democratic women in Congress, led in part by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, called for his resignation.
Brokaw is still employed by NBC News and distributed a letter defending himself against the allegations.