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2020 Man of the Year: Jeffrey Toobin

Jeffrey Toobin
Jeffrey Toobin / Getty Images
• December 24, 2020 10:00 am

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Among journalists, Jeffrey Toobin put himself in the pole position. He steadily rose to prominence as a staff writer for the New Yorker, and when the O.J. Simpson trial convened, he milked it for all it was worth. Toobin exploded onto the New York Times bestseller list with The Run of His Life: The People v. O.J. Simpson.

Toobin’s grip on the media was relentless. In 2002 he joined CNN and became the network’s chief legal analyst, a cocksure critic of Republicans, shaking his fist vigorously at President Donald Trump. Of course, some have accused Toobin of stroking his own ego, pumping himself up—not that he ever cared about rubbing people the wrong way.

Last October, however, Toobin took part in an erection stimulation election simulation via Zoom, alongside a few of his New Yorker colleagues and WNYC radio staffers. Who knows, maybe it was the dulcet tones of Jane Mayer or the supple cadences of Dexter Filkins, but during the breakout session, Toobin decided to break it out.

"[I]t seemed like Toobin was on a second video call," two sources told Vice. "The people on the call said they could see Toobin touching his penis. Toobin then left the call. Moments later, he called back in, seemingly unaware of what his colleagues had been able to see, and the simulation continued."

No doubt feeling refreshed!

Toobin did issue an apology and explained how he was certain "no one on the Zoom call could see me" (damn you, technology!). But it wasn’t enough—the New Yorker, finding itself in a sticky situation, cut him loose. The good news is that the 60-year-old remains CNN’s chief legal analyst, albeit currently on leave. But even there he could be nearing the end of his rope.

So for that willingness to throw caution to the wind and for giving us a new word for when we want to grab life by the horns—"Excuse me while I go Toobin!"—we salute Jeffrey Toobin, a Washington Free Beacon Man of the Year!