Weeks after disgracing himself in a fateful Zoom call, CNN’s Jeffrey Toobin is the topic of a New York Times article charting his rise and precipitous fall from the heights of elite journalism.
The article provides new details on the October incident in which Toobin exposed himself to colleagues from The New Yorker, Fox News reported.
Details emerge from scandal
Toobin was in the middle of an election simulation when he “was seen lowering and raising his computer camera, exposing and touching his penis, and motioning an air kiss to someone other than his colleagues,” the Times reported Tuesday.
“It wasn’t a full-out sexual act, but it was much more than a second,” Masha Gessen of The New Yorker said. “I was really, truly shocked.”
Toobin was mocked by late night TV hosts and even fellow journalists, but some colleagues have shown pity on the mortified author.
Author and New Yorker writer Malcolm Gladwell said that the magazine’s publisher, Condé Nast, had taken a moralistic turn in its response to the incident. “My only feeling — the only way I could explain it — was that Condé Nast had taken an unexpected turn toward traditional Catholic teaching,” he said.
Gessen said the incident was “traumatic” but compared it nevertheless to “taking an inappropriately long lunch break, having sex during it and getting stumbled upon.”
The Times recounted that Toobin emerged relatively unscathed from scandal after he impregnated a former colleague’s daughter, Casey Greenfield, in 2008. He is said to have threatened to abort the child, Fox News noted.
And magazine journalist Lisa DePaulo recalled an encounter to The Times that she had with the “pervy” journalist in 2003, when he left a filthy voicemail describing a sex act he wanted to perform with her.
Toobin had told her he was separating from his wife and she agreed to a New Year’s Eve date. “Usually someone takes me to dinner first,” she told him. He later told DePaulo that he was back with his spouse.
New York Public Radio banned Toobin “indefinitely” over the Zoom scandal, and his image was edited out of an episode of HBO’s The Undoing. The Times noted he has Hollywood projects in development but their status is unclear. He was fired from The New Yorker, where he worked for decades, in November.
Toobin is still employed at CNN, however, where he’s on leave, and The Times noted that network president Jeff Zucker is a “big fan” and “a believer in second chances.”