AceShowbiz - Thursday, November 29 marks one year after NBC News fired "Today" host Matt Lauer over sexual harassment scandal. While some may think that NBC News is getting better at handling and preventing any misconducts, former NBC correspondent and former Fox News anchor Linda Vester claims that it is getting worse instead.
"The women who speak to me say the climate of fear is worse than ever, the silencing is worse than ever," Vester told Variety on Wednesday. "NBC News management should not be allowed to get away with this any further."
Additionally, Vester, who worked for NBC and MSNBC in the mid-'90s, bought an ad in Thursday's New York Times that calls on the network's board of directors, urging them to end the practice of non-disclosure agreements and forced arbitration in cases involving sexual harassment.
"The reason I can speak is I'm not under an NDA, and they can't ruin my career," she said. "I'm a stay-at-home mom. They can't fire me. NBC News management should not be allowed to get away with this any further."
Comcast, which owns NBCUniversal, later gave its official response to Vester's claims on Thursday. "Comcast NBCUniversal's investigation was thorough, objective and conducted outside the News division. Kim Harris, NBCUniversal's General Counsel, led this process with a team of legal and HR professionals who are independent of News," the company insisted in the statement.
"In addition, we consulted with two prominent outside law firms -- Proskauer Rose and Davis Polk -- both of whom validated the investigation's methodology, findings and conclusions," the statement continued. "NBCUniversal issued a detailed report of the findings in May and since instituted new policies and procedures to further encourage reporting of complaints and provide increased training for employees and managers on workplace conduct."
Vester, however, didn't feel that Comcast told the thruth, firing back with her own statement through her group Silence Breakers Alliance. "Today's statement by Comcast, which includes demonstrably untrue assertions, only underscores why it is critical that the board of directors step in now and get the real truth," she said.
Claiming that "the internal investigation was neither thorough nor objective," Vester continued it is proven "by statements made by several of Matt Lauer's victims that they were never interviewed." Vester added, "Likewise, several on-air personalities, including Ann Curry, have indicated they also were not interviewed, even though they too have information about Lauer and managers who allegedly covered for him."
She also called out NBC News Chairman Andy Lack, saying, "It is bad enough that NBC News is being run by Andy Lack, who reportedly has been sexually inappropriate with and retaliated against subordinates in the past." Vester previously told Tucker Carlson during her Wednesday appearance on "Tucker Carlson Tonight" that she knew about two victims of misconduct from the 1980s by Lack.
"It sends a chilling message to all of the NBC News victims that this corporation seems, in our judgment, to care more about silencing them and letting predators walk the halls at NBC News. Shame on Comcast. Directors, do your job and allow the truth to come out," Vester concluded her statement.