CNN Welcomes Analyst Who Masturbated During Meeting with Colleagues Back to the Air


CNN chief legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin returned to the network Thursday following a seven-month hiatus after he was caught masturbating during a Zoom call while colleagues from The New Yorker looked on last year.

CNN host Alisyn Camerota welcomed Toobin back to his job at the network during an afternoon segment, addressing the elephant in the room by asking him to open up about the scandal that saw him disappear from the airwaves just before the 2020 election.

“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,” she said. “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, sad to say,” Toobin responded.

“OK, so let’s start there. To quote Jay Leno, ‘What the hell were you thinking?’” asked the CNN anchor.

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“Well, obviously, I wasn’t thinking very well or very much. 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.”

Toobin then described his behavior as “deeply moronic.”

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“I thought that I had turned off the Zoom call. Now, that’s not a defense. This was deeply moronic and indefensible. But, I mean, that, that is part of, that is part of the story. And, you know, I have spent the seven subsequent months, miserable months in my life, I can certainly confess, trying to be a better person,” he said.

Toobin added that he is in therapy, working to be a better person and writing a book about the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.

“I am trying to become the kind of person that people can trust again,” he said.

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Following the news of Toobin’s explicit activities on the call last fall, he was let go from The New Yorker after nearly three decades following an initial suspension. He apologized at the time during a conversation with Vice.

“I made an embarrassingly stupid mistake, believing I was off-camera. I apologize to my wife, family, friends and co-workers,” he told the outlet of his decision to pleasure himself during working hours.

“I believed I was not visible on Zoom. I thought no one on the Zoom call could see me. I thought I had muted the Zoom video,” Toobin said.

Vice previously reported that Toobin had exposed himself during a meeting in which the outlet was discussing the then-upcoming 2020 election and various scenarios expected to play out ahead of the outlet’s coverage of the election.

Sources who witnessed Toobin’s behavior told Vice the incident occurred during a break from the meeting in which Toobin was playing the role of the courts in one election scenario.

“The sources said that when the groups returned from their break out rooms, Toobin lowered the camera. The people on the call said they could see Toobin touching his penis. Toobin then left the call,” Vice reported.

“Moments later, he called back in, seemingly unaware of what his colleagues had been able to see, and the simulation continued,” the report added.

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Johnathan Jones has worked as a reporter, an editor, and producer in radio, television and digital media.
Johnathan "Kipp" Jones has worked as an editor and producer in radio and television. He is a proud husband and father.