Maria Shriver, Rachel Maddow & 62 Other Women Sign Letter Supporting Tom Brokaw Amid Allegations
MSNBC star Rachel Maddow, Today show correspondent Maria Shriver and NBC News anchor Andrea Mitchell were among the list of 64 names listed on a support letter issued on Friday. The women collectively have worked with Brokaw across four decades since he began at NBC in 1976.
“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,” the letter began, according to multiple outlets that obtained the document.
“We are current and former colleagues of Tom’s, who have worked with him over a period spanning four decades. We are producers, correspondents, anchors, directors, executives, researchers, personal assistants, editors and technical staff,” the letter continued.
Concluding, “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 rep for Brokaw and NBC News did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.
- Want to keep up on the latest from PEOPLE? Sign up for our daily newsletter to get our best stories of the day delivered straight to your inbox.
Mika Brzezinski of MSNBC’s of Morning Joe tweeted on Friday: “Add me to the list.”
The signed letter by the women is in response to the Washington Post and Variety reports published on Thursday in which former NBC correspondent Linda Vester claimed Brokaw made an unwanted advance, including a forcible attempt to kiss her, on two occasions in the 1990s.
“I met with Linda Vester on two occasions, both at her request, 23 years ago, because she wanted advice with respect to her career at NBC,” Brokaw said in a denial statement issued by NBC and obtained by The Post.
“The meetings were brief, cordial and appropriate, and despite Linda’s allegations, I made no romantic overtures towards her, at that time or any other,” the statement continued.
Also on Friday, Brokaw released another denial statement in an email to his colleagues.
“I am angry, hurt and unmoored from what I thought would be the final passage of my life and career, a mix of written and broadcast journalism, philanthropy and participation in environmental and social causes that have always given extra meaning to my life,” he wrote.
Vester, he said, “has unleashed a torrent of unsubstantiated criticism and attacks on me more than twenty years after I opened the door for her and a new job at Fox News.”
Brokaw went on to give his version of their two meetings, during which he said she discussed her career and “office gossip.”
“I deeply resent the pain and anger she inflicted on my wife, daughters and granddaughters – all women of considerable success and passion about women’s rights which they personify in their daily lives and professions,” he concluded. “We’ll go on as a family that pursues social justice in medical emergency rooms, corporate offices, social therapy, African women’s empowerment and journalism. And no one woman’s assault can take that away.”
Vester’s lawyer told PEOPLE on Friday, ““My client stands by the allegations, which speak for themselves.”
NBC News chairman Andy Lack also released a separate memo on Friday.