Linda Vester, the former war correspondent for NBC News and Fox News anchorwoman who accused Tom Brokaw of sexual harassment, is married to the wealthy son of one of America’s most famous baseball players, has a website devoted to motherhood, and is said to speak both French and Arabic. Vester says Brokaw made unwanted advances, including trying to kiss her and groping her in the early 1990s.
Vester, now 52, sometimes goes by her married name, Linda Greenberg. Her website biography states that “she chucked it all to stay home with her kids,” giving up her journalism career for motherhood. Vester and her husband, Glenn Greenberg, are heavily involved in charitable giving, including a gift of $10 million to Yale University to establish a teaching space.
Brokaw launched into a scathing defense of himself, denying the accusations, which date to the 1990s, and directing criticism both at Vester and the news media after the story broke in The Washington Post and Variety. A second, anonymous woman has also accused Brokaw of unwanted behavior, which he also denies. He labeled Vester “a woman with a grudge against NBC News” with “no distinctive credentials” and a “modest career.” Some NBC staffers are now alleging they felt pressured to sign a letter in support of Brokaw that was signed by numerous prominent female journalists, and a third woman, Mary Reinholz, is alleging Brokaw made unwanted advances toward her years ago.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Vester Worked as a War Correspondent in the Middle East for NBC News & Was a Fulbright Scholar
Vester worked as a war correspondent for NBC News in the 1990s and “spent three tours of duty in the Middle East and took two assignments in Africa,” Daily Variety reported.
“I had just finished a Fulbright in the Middle East, and I had been doing freelance work for CBS in Gaza,” Vester told Variety. “When I was interviewing at NBC, the network offered me a job where I could work my way up through the ranks. They started me as a researcher, then a field producer, then I was sent to the NBC Tampa affiliate to get more on-air experience.”
She then reported from the Middle East during the Persian Gulf War. You can watch a news segment that includes Vester and Brokaw together here:
Vester was at the anchor table the day after Princess Diana died:
According to The Washington Post, Vester was a “Fulbright student fellow who had pursued graduate studies in Arabic and the Middle East, Vester had reported for NBC from Saudi Arabia and Kuwait during the first Gulf War.”
Vester’s wedding announcement says she “graduated magna cum laude from Boston University and also from the Sorbonne in Paris. She studied Middle East politics in Egypt as a Fulbright scholar.”
After her time at NBC, she transitioned to Fox News, where she worked as an anchorwoman. “She left NBC in 1999 and went on to anchor her own show on Fox News through 2006,” Variety reported.
2. Linda Vester Married the Son of the Famous Baseball Player, Hank Greenberg
Linda Vester married Glenn Hank Greenberg in 2001, according to the wedding announcement in The New York Times. The announcement states that Vester’s husband is the son of Hank Greenberg, the famous baseball player. You can see a photo of Vester and her husband here.
According to the Baseball Hall of Fame website, Hank Greenberg, who played for the Detroit Tigers, “is widely regarded as one of the best hitters ever.” Moneyweek labeled Glenn Greenberg one of the world’s best investors.
At the time of the announcement, Vester was an anchorwoman for Fox News Channel in Manhattan. Her father was director of medical research at Good Samaritan Hospital in Cincinnati, and her mother was a nurse and malpractice claims investigator.
She was 35 and her husband was 54 at the time of the marriage and was a “managing director of Chieftain Capital Management in Manhattan” at the time. His mother was an art collector and a daughter of the chairman of the Gimbel Brothers department store, according to the announcement. The Gimbel family was so wealthy they even acquired Saks Fifth Avenue. “Her family owned the old Gimbel’s department stores,” reported IMDB of Glenn Greenberg’s mother.
Glenn was divorced at the time of the marriage (from a woman named Judith Bruce), and he and Vester met on a blind date. Greenberg was impressed that she “spoke Arabic and French” and had “covered the Persian Gulf War, and wars in Rwanda and Somalia,” according to the wedding announcement. He won her over by serving her “herbal tea by a crackling fire” as he played the guitar, it says.
The couple runs a charitable foundation in New York. They also donated $10 million to create a teaching space at Yale University called the Linda and Glenn H. Greenberg Engineering Teaching Concourse.
In 2014, Stockopedia reported of Glenn Greenberg: “Once named as ‘the next Buffett’, Greenberg’s returns over the past few decades have been almost second-to-none.” He runs a firm called Brave Warrior.
3. Vester Left Television News to Run ‘Mommy Inc.’ & Founded a Website Devoted to Motherhood
After her marriage, Vester eventually stopped working in television news. She told Ad Week that she considered motherhood akin to “Mommy, Inc.” She had four children with her husband and decided she wanted to be a stay-at-home-mother.
She also described how, while at Fox, she had found a “mentor in Roger Ailes,” the article states. This was before Ailes’ own sexual harassment scandals erupted.
“In terms of Fox being number one,” she said in the article, “there’s a good reason. It’s because Roger understands viewing habits, viewers, and human psychology in a way that I’ve never seen anyone in the broadcasting industry get it.”
According to Newsweek, Vester “left Fox in the mid-2000s to look after her children full-time. In addition to her four children, she has three stepchildren. She runs a website about motherhood called smartmamas.com.
The website’s mission statement reads, “As moms, we want to create a website that’s honest and genuine, that serves women of all ethnicities and backgrounds. We are about supporting each other, not judging; we are about helping each other laugh on days when mothering can be tough. We are about sharing information. When we help each other, that makes us all…Smart Mamas!”
Vester, who goes by her married name Linda Greenberg on the website, is listed as its founder and CEO. “Linda is the mom of four children and stepmom to three grown stepsons. Her previous career as a journalist and filmmaker took her all over the world, but in 2005 she chucked it all to stay home with her kids,” the website reads.
“She has her hands full with two daughters and two sons! She is certain she would be lost without her mom friends — they are the ones she turns to for advice and support. These same friends were the inspiration for this website because we all need to be able to talk things through with other gals hurtling down the same rapids!”
4. Vester Accused Brokaw of Groping Her & Trying to Kiss Her Years Ago
Daily Variety was one of the news organizations that broke the story of Vester’s accusations against Tom Brokaw. “Vester alleged that Brokaw physically tried to force her to kiss him on two separate occasions, groped her in a NBC conference room and showed up at her hotel room uninvited,” the entertainment newspaper reported.
To back up her story, reported Variety, Vester produced her journal entries from that time frame and two friends, who said she confided in them at the time. Vester was 28 when she says the incidents occurred, Brokaw was married and much older, and she did not report them at the time, she says because Brokaw was the respected and powerful anchorman of NBC News, and she was scared about what would happen to her career.
The Washington Post also reported on Vester’s allegations but buried them in a story about the general culture at NBC News in the wake of other scandals involving such big names as Matt Lauer. The Post also reported that a second woman, who wanted to remain anonymous, had described an incident with Brokaw.
That woman, a production assistant for NBC, alleged to The Post that Brokaw “stopped her in the hallway just as she arrived for work… He took her hands in his and commented on how cold they were,” reported The Post, quoting the woman as saying, “He put my hands under his jacket and against his chest and pulled me in so close and asked me, ‘How is your job search going?'”
5. Brokaw Responded by Calling Vester a ‘Character Assassin’ With a Grudge
NBC News provided Variety with a statement that read, “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. 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.”
However, Brokaw used much harsher language in an email he wrote on the matter to co-workers and friends, which promptly leaked to the news media. He refers to Vester as a “character assassin.”
“It is 4:00 am on the first day of my new life as an accused predator in the universe of American journalism,” the email starts. “I was ambushed and then perp walked across the pages of The Washington Post and Variety as an avatar of male misogyny, taken to the guillotine and stripped of any honor and achievement I had earned in more than a half century of journalism and citizenship.”
You can read the email in full here. In the lengthy email, obtained by The Los Angeles Times and other news outlets, Brokaw compares the stories to a drive-by shooting. Brokaw also lashed out at Vester personally.
“My NBC colleagues are bewildered that Vester, who had limited success at NBC News, a modest career at Fox and a reputation as a colleague who had trouble with the truth was suddenly the keeper of the flame of journalistic integrity,” the email states. He noted the allegations dated back more than 20 years.
He admits meeting Vester for an informal meeting in a New York hotel room but stated “I emphatically did not verbally and physically attack her and suggest an affair in language right out of pulp fiction.” He also stated he met her once at her apartment and “as I got to leave I may have leaned over for a perfunctory goodnight kiss but my memory is that it happened at the door – on the cheek.”
He labeled Vester “a woman with a grudge against NBC News, no distinctive credentials or issue passions while at FOX. As a private citizen who married a wealthy man she has been active in social causes but she came to Me:Too late, portraying herself as a den mother.”
Discuss on Facebook