Mark Halperin Accuser Says Journalist's Behavior Was an "Open Secret"
Longtime CNN producer Eleanor McManus said of the ousted NBC News political analyst, "Everyone knew this was the way he was."
Longtime CNN producer Eleanor McManus spoke out about Mark Halperin's behavior being an "open secret" in the media during a visit to Megyn Kelly Today.
The former producer for CNN's Larry King Live opened up to Megyn Kelly about Halperin on Monday, expanding upon the sexual harassment allegations she made about the journalist in a column for CNN last week.
McManus revealed that when she was a 21-year-old student and Halperin was working for ABC News, the political analyst "leaned in, tried to kiss me, and attempted to do a bit more" during a private meeting. She wrote, "I didn't want to offend the man in charge of political programming at ABC News, and I tried to be courteous and apologetic, and practically ran out of the office.... Was this what I had to expect if I went into broadcast news or journalism? If so, I didn't want any part of it."
McManus told her story one day after CNN reported five anonymous allegations of sexual harassment against Halperin. In the wake of the allegations, HBO canceled a project based on his next Game Change book, which was also dropped by its publisher Penguin Press, and Showtime said it would evaluate Halperin's role in political documentary series The Circus if it continues for another season.
While speaking to McManus on Monday, Kelly also announced that NBC had terminated its contract with Halperin, a senior political analyst for NBC News and MSNBC.
"This was an open secret," McManus said of telling her story over the years and it still being dismissed. "Everyone knew this was the way he was but the problem was, this was the normalization of the behavior. Everyone thought, 'That's just normal. That's just newsroom behavior. That's just what happens in newsroom.' And I think we need to understand that's not the right thing."
Despite telling people through the years, she kept seeing this person "getting bigger and bigger and bigger." She said, "I was angry because I was silent and because I was silent this happened to other people. There are women who this happened to who did not pursue their career in journalism because of this incident. Because of an incident they had with him, they left the business."
She also echoed a thought she had written about in her column, saying she blamed herself for what happened: "Was my dress a little to short? Did I smile too much? Did I say something to lead him on? It's so important for women today to understand it's not their fault."
To that, Kelly replied: "You can wear a bikini to the office and it doesn't make it OK for your superior to hit on you — it does not."
Last week, Halperin issued an apology and ABC issued a statement, though both McManus and Kelly said their words did not acknowledge the victims. "It didn't say anything about what he did to other people," said McManus.
Still, she feels the tide is changing and encouraged both women and men, saying, "When you hear about these stories, come out and speak out. Say something."
Before introducing McManus, Kelly opened her show by saying Kevin Spacey has joined the growing list of people accused of sexual misconduct, recapping the news that broke overnight when actor Anthony Rapp alleged Spacey made a pass at him when he was 14. Spacey responded by coming out as gay, something that quickly sparked backlash on social media.