CNN chief legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin has returned to the network following a 8-month absence after being caught masturbating during a Zoom call with his colleagues from the New Yorker.
In his return segment to the network, Toobin was confronted by CNN Newsroom anchor Alisyn Camerota — who summarized the events that led to his hiatus.
“In October, you were on a Zoom call with your colleagues from the New Yorker magazine,” Camerota said to Toobin. “Everyone took a break for several minutes, during which time you were caught masturbating on camera. You were subsequently fired from that job, after 27 years of working there. And you, since then, have been on leave from CNN. Do I have all that right?
“You got it all right,” Toobin replied. “Sad to say.”
Camerota then confronted him by quoting Jay Leno’s famous opening salvo in a 1995 interview with Hugh Grant, after he was arrested for soliciting prostitution.
“What the hell were you thinking?” Camerota asked Toobin.
“Well, obviously, I wasn’t thinking very well or very much,” Toobin said. “And it was something that was inexplicable to me. I think one point — I wouldn’t exactly say in my defense, because nothing is really in my defense — I didn’t think I was on the call. I didn’t think other people could see me.”
“You thought that you had turned off your camera?” Camerota asked.
“Correct,” Toobin said. “I thought that I had turned off the zoom call. Now, that’s not a defense. This was deeply moronic and indefensible. But that is part of the story. I have spent the seven subsequent months, miserable months in my life, I can certainly confess, trying to be a better person.”
Camerota went on to ask Toobin if he’s considered the perspective of others who were part of that conference call.
“I’m sure you’ve replayed that embarrassing moment over and over many times,” Camerota said. Have you ever thought about what it must have been like to be on the receiving end of that Zoom call?”
Toobin responded by saying that he’s actually spoken about it with those who were on the call with him.
“They were shocked and appalled,” he said. “I think they realized that this was not intended for them. I think they realized that this was something that I would immediately regret, as I certainly did, and it was then — it was that day that I began apologizing. And that is something that I have tried to continue to do both publicly and privately.”
Toobin then launched into an apology.
“I’m trying now to say how sorry I am, sincerely, in all seriousness,” Toobin said. “Above all, I am sorry to my wife and to my family. But I’m also sorry to the people on the Zoom call. I’m sorry to my former colleagues at the “New Yorker. I’m sorry to my current — fortunately, still — colleagues at CNN, and I’m sorry to the people who read my work and who watched me on CNN who thought I was a better person than this. And so I’ve got a lot to rebuild, but I feel very privileged and very lucky that I’m going to be able to try to do that.”
Toobin and Camerota discussed the incident and aftermath for several more minutes before pivoted to a discussion about other legal topics.
“It is good to be back, and I hope to be a better person off camera as well as on camera,” Toobin said.
Watch above, via CNN.
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