Tom Brokaw, the former NBC News accused of making unwanted sexual advances toward multiple women in the 1990s, has dropped out as this year’s commencement speaker at Sacred Heart University, James News has confirmed.
John J. Petillo, Ph.D., president of the university, communicated Brokaw’s withdrawal in an email Friday, the Fairfield, Conn., school said.
Replacing Brokaw as commencement speaker will be Linda McMahon, administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration.
In the email, Petillo said Brokaw withdrew because he “did not want to distract from the intended and most important focus of the day – our graduating students and their families.”
With that, he added, “the Honorable Linda McMahon, member of the President’s Cabinet and former SHU trustee,” would be the keynote speaker.
McMahon, a former CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment, is a donor for the university and previously served on its governing board.
According to the Washington Post , Brokaw, now 78, allegedly made unwanted moves on Linda Vester, a former NBC correspondent and former Fox News anchor, twice during the 1990s, including an alleged move to forcibly kiss Vester, who was in her 20s at the time.
The report also detailed the claims of an anonymous woman who told the outlet Brokaw allegedly acted inappropriately toward her during her time as a production assistant in the 1990s. Brokaw was the anchor of “NBC Nightly News” at the time.
He has denied all the accusations against him.
“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 statement issued by NBC that was provided to 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.”