Left-wing media network CNN welcomed Jeffrey Toobin back to the airwaves on Thursday, seven months after the legal analyst was granted "time off" for a "personal issue" after taking his dick out and masturbating in front of colleagues on a Zoom call.
Appearing as a guest alongside host Alisyn Camerota, and filmed from the waist up, the disgraced analyst sought to atone for the masturbation scandal that cost him his job as a columnist for the New Yorker. Unlike CNN, the publication deemed his termination necessary to foster "an environment where everyone feels respected and upholds our standards of conduct."
Camerota introduced Toobin by laying out the details of the incident. "I feel like we should address what's happened in the months since we've seen you, since some of our viewers may not know what has happened, so I guess I'll recap," she said. "In October, you were on a Zoom call with your colleagues from the New Yorker magazine. 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?"
She did. Toobin began with a qualified defense of his actions during that fateful call. "I didn't think other people could see," he said. "That is part of the story." He went on to describe the "miserable" seven months he has spent "trying to be a better person" by going to therapy and working in a food bank.
Toobin said he had spoken to several of his former colleagues at the New Yorker, who were "shocked and appalled" by what they saw that day. They ultimately realized, he said, that his masturbating "was not intended for them," which presumably came as a relief.
"I'm a flawed human being who makes mistakes," said Toobin, who once had a nearly decade-long extramarital affair with Casey Greenfield, the 20-something daughter of a former CBS colleague. When Toobin's mistress informed him she was pregnant, according to the New York Times, he "questioned the paternity, balked at submitting to a test, and vowed to take no responsibility for a baby he wasn't sure was his." He eventually acknowledged paternity after being sued for child support.
Camerota and Toobin went on to imply that the New Yorker overreacted by firing him for masturbating in front of his colleagues. "I thought this punishment was excessive," he said. "I am incredibly grateful to CNN for taking me back." Being a journalist has taught him that "not every crime deserves the death penalty." In any event, he boasted, it was pretty cool to see his public masturbation memorialized in "two segments on Saturday Night Live."
Toobin did his best to assure viewers that his days of sexual misadventure were behind him."I don't think there is anything further that is going to come out," he said, inartfully.
We can only hope.