Jeffrey Toobin - fired by the New Yorker for masturbating on a Zoom call, and on hiatus from CNN - returned to the TV network on Thursday and explained why he pleasured himself during the online work meeting.
Back in October 2020, Toobin was canned as a senior columnist for the New Yorker after masturbating, with his penis visible, during a staff call.
At the time, he said he thought the camera was turned off.
He was reprimanded and eventually fired from the New Yorker. He was also relieved of his duties as CNN contributor.
But after an interview with the network’s own Alisyn Camerota, CNN confirmed to New York that Toobin will be back on the air regularly, presumably with pants fully on.
In the deeply uncomfortable interview, Toobin said he’s apologized to his family, his CNN coworkers, and all those on the call where he was masturbating.
He says he “wasn’t thinking” when doing this, which is a weird thing to admit about your work day at the New Yorker, one of the most prestigious magazines in the world, which people look to for fairly deep thinking.
He says he has no real defense, but did tell Camerota he’s in therapy now. He said he hopes to “become the kind of person that people can trust again.”
Based on the reactions, the high-powered journalist has a long way to go, with many left baffled by his return after less than eight months out of the public eye.
Sexual harassment at work, especially in media, had become a large part of the conversation around work culture and the Me Too movement before the pandemic. Toobin was a rare high profile cases of sexually inappropriate behavior at work during a period when most people were working from home.
It was a somewhat impossible feat, to expose yourself to so many people while physically separated, but he did pull it off. To swing back from it without many obstacles is quite a surprise.
But it’s unclear how far Toobin’s rehabilitation tour will go. It’s hard to trust someone’s work, after all, when you have such solid evidence that they weren’t really paying attention while they were supposed to be focusing on it...