On Thursday lawyer/legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin returned to the airwaves of CNN for the first time since he accidentally pulled his dick out in front of some of his former New Yorker co-workers on Zoom. We say “former” because The New Yorker fired him shortly after the incident, which occurred in October 2020, to wrap a 27-year run at said magazine. Yeesh, thanks for the service.
At the time, in a pair of seriously worded statements, CNN said that Toobin “has asked for some time off while he deals with a personal issue, which we have granted,” and Toobin said “I made an embarrassingly stupid mistake, believing I was off-camera. I apologize to my wife, family, friends, and co-workers.”
Fast forward eight months and Toobin was back on the air to self-flagellate. For those who (correctly) loathe the cable TV punditry industry, there may be is absolutely some morbid enjoyment to be had in Toobin being forced to explain himself. Imagine waiting for your dentist (the only place I ever see CNN on) and watching this.
“In October, you were on a Zoom call with your colleagues from the New Yorker magazine,” said host Alisyn Camerota in a summary before passing over 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?”
He confirmed that was correct, and then she said “What the hell were you thinking?”
“Well, obviously, I wasn’t thinking very well or very much,” Toobin responded. “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.”
At that point, the host, looking for clarification, said “You thought that you had turned off your camera?”
“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.”
He then went through the various soul-searching things he’s done since then, including going to therapy and working at a food bank (??)
“I’m sure you’ve replayed that embarrassing moment over and over many times,” Camerota said after that. “Have you ever thought about what it must have been like to be on the receiving end of that Zoom call?”
Toobin says he’s spoken with those who were on the call.
“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.”
He then segued to a broader apology.
“I’m trying now to say how sorry I am, sincerely, in all seriousness,” Toobin continued. “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 TheNew 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.”
The whole thing really tugs at your heartstrings *wipes tear*. You can watch above.