(NEW YORK CITY) — A New York woman has claimed that former NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw gave her an unwanted “French kiss” some 50 years ago.
Freelance writer Mary Reinholz wrote in an essay for the weekly Manhattan paper The Villager that she decided to come forward after reading the “disparaging remarks” Brokaw made about Linda Vester, another woman who alleged untoward conduct by the legendary newsman.
The national #MeToo movement against sexual assault and harassment “ignited vivid memories for this aging freelance scribe,” Reinholz, 80, wrote in her column published Monday.
“I recalled getting hit on by several powerful men in the news business during my 1960s young adulthood, among them NBC heavyweight Tom Brokaw,” she wrote.
Reinholz is the third woman in recent days who has alleged that Brokaw made inappropriate romantic advances.
Brokaw hasn’t yet responded directly to the allegation by Reinholz. Reached by phone at his New York home today, the 78-year-old Brokaw declined to answer questions from ABC News.
Brokaw has denied previous allegations. In a statement, the long-married newsman described Vester as a “character assassin” whose interviews with The Hollywood Reporter, Variety and Washington Post ambushed him like a “drive-by shooting.”
Another woman, who spoke to the Washington Post on the condition of anonymity, also alleged that Brokaw also acted inappropriately toward her in the 1990s, when she was a young production assistant at NBC and Brokaw was the Peacock network’s chief anchor.
The allegations against Brokaw come about five months after NBC fired “Today” show host Matt Lauer for “inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace.”
In her article, Reinholz recalled an “uncomfortable” encounter with Brokaw she says occurred in the 1960s when Brokaw was in his late twenties and a news anchor at KNBC-TV in Los Angeles.
She said she called Brokaw to thank him for getting her information from a Los Angeles Police Department report for a news story she was working on and “somehow it came to pass that we decided to meet at my Laurel Canyon cottage on a weekend afternoon.
“We talked and then, abruptly, he was embracing me and giving me a French kiss,” Reinholz wrote. “I pulled away, reminding him that he was married and a tryst was out of the question. He said, ‘Yes, it would be unfair to Meredith,’ meaning his wife.”
She wanted to “stay friendly” with Brokaw and even “called him a couple of times for one reason or another,” but never had another face-to-face meeting with him.
“I had been married but I wasn’t interested in Brokaw as a sex partner and the situation made me uncomfortable,” Reinholz wrote.
In an email today, Reinholz told ABC News that she has not heard from Brokaw since her column was published and was “remiss in not attempting to contact him while revising an assigned ‘personal column’ on a #MeToo movement event.”
Vester, 52, a former NBC News correspondent, claims that on two occasions in the 1990s Brokaw attempted to kiss her, once after showing up at her New York hotel room uninvited. She also described an incident in which Brokaw once grabbed her from behind in front of colleagues in a work setting and proceeded to “tickle me up and down my waist.”
Brokaw maintains that Vester initiated the New York hotel room meeting she describes. “I should not have gone but I emphatically did not verbally and physically attack her and suggest an affair in language right out of pulp fiction,” Brokaw wrote in a statement to NBC colleagues after Vester’s allegations.
“I deeply resent the pain and anger she inflicted on my wife, daughters and granddaughters,” Brokaw continued. “I am proud of who I am as a husband, father, grandfather, journalist and citizen. Vester, the Washington Post and Variety cannot diminish that. But in this one woman piece of sensational claims they are trying.”
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