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CNN Chief Legal Analyst Suspended by The New Yorker for Masturbating During Zoom Call

CNN chief legal analyst and New Yorker staff writer Jeffrey Toobin apparently exposed his penis—and then some—during an “election simulation” Zoom call last week related to his work for the latter news organization, resulting in a suspension.

VICE Motherboard reported the news Monday afternoon, which included an apologetic statement from Toobin confirming that this, indeed, occurred.

“I made an embarrassingly stupid mistake, believing I was off-camera. I apologize to my wife, family, friends and co-workers,” Toobin said of last week’s incident. The New Yorker said Toobin was suspended pending further investigation. VICE later updated the story to clarify that Toobin was masturbating.

Toobin managed to be caught with his pants down in view of New Yorker and WNYC radio employees who participated in the Zoom call, he said, because he “believed [he] 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 told VICE. The publication later went into more detail about what occurred, citing witness accounts:

Both people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity in order to speak freely, noted that it was unclear how much each individual person on the call saw, but both of the people we spoke to said that they saw Toobin jerking off. The two sources described a juncture in the election simulation when there was a strategy session, and the Democrats and Republicans went into their respective break out rooms for about 10 minutes. At this point, they said, it seemed like Toobin was on a second video call. 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. Moments later, he called back in, seemingly unaware of what his colleagues had been able to see, and the simulation continued.

It’s unclear which day last week this took place, but it was noticed that Toobin hasn’t tweeted since last Tuesday, Oct. 13.

Toobin reportedly appeared on CNN as recently as Saturday in his legal pundit role. Law&Crime reached out to two CNN representatives for comment on Toobin’s status with the network.

A CNN spokesperson told Law&Crime that Toobin has “asked for some time off while he deals with a personal issue, which we have granted.”

Toobin has worked as a legal analyst at CNN since 2002. He has been with The New Yorker for more than 25 years.

This post has been updated with new information about the Zoom call in question.

[Image via CNN screengrab]

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Matt Naham is managing editor of Law&Crime. He formerly worked as news editor and weekend editor at Rare.