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CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin returned to the cable news channel for the first time since last October, addressing the incident that got him fired by The New Yorker and which kept him off of CNN during the 2020 presidential election season.
“To quote Jay Leno, what the hell were you thinking?” CNN anchor Alisyn Camerota asked Toobin, after explaining the incident to viewers, in which Toobin was caught masturbating during a Zoom meeting with colleagues at the Conde Nast publication.
“Well, obviously I wasn’t thinking very well or very much, and it was something that was inexplicable to me,” Toobin said, adding that he thought he had turned off the camera. “Now, that is not a defense. This was deeply moronic and indefensible, but that is part of the story,” he added.
“Above all, I am sorry to my wife and family, I am sorry to everyone on the Zoom call, I am sorry to my former colleagues at The New Yorker, I am sorry to my current and fortunately still colleagues at CNN, and I am sorry to everyone who read my work and watched me on CNN and thought I was a better person than this,” Toobin added.
Asked about his departure from the venerable publication, Toobin said, “I loved The New Yorker, I loved working there. … I thought this punishment was excessive, but that is why they don’t ask the criminal to be the judge in his own case.” He added that he was “incredibly grateful” to CNN for bringing him back.
Camerota also asked Toobin about the investigation that led to his firing: “They looked at my entire career at The New Yorker and found that there had been no complaints about me, no issues,” Toobin said. “This was not the straw that broke the camel’s back; this was the only incident.”
“Look, I live in the world, I know social media, what the reactions are likely to be. I assume, I hope, they will be at least mixed,” Toobin said of the reaction to his return to CNN. “Other people will weigh in about whether it was appropriate for them to get rid of me, and of CNN to keep me.”
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