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Jeffrey Toobin has been fired from the New Yorker after an incident in which he was seen by colleagues masturbating on a Zoom call, The Daily Beast reports. The site obtained a memo written by Chief People Officer Stan Duncan of Conde Nast — the parent company of the New Yorker — that said the company completed an investigation of the incident, which led to Toobin’s ouster.
“I made an embarrassingly stupid mistake, believing I was off-camera. I apologize to my wife, family, friends and co-workers,” Toobin told Vice in a statement. “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.”
The Vice report added that this occurred during an election simulation in which Toobin was playing the courts. Many of the New Yorker’s other star writers were playing roles in the call, including Jane Mayer, Evan Osnos, Jelani Cobb, Masha Gessen, and Andrew Marantz.
Two anonymous sources spoke to Vice to say that they saw Toobin masturbating on the Zoom call. “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,” the report says. “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.”
Toobin had been at the New Yorker for over a quarter of a century — he started writing there in 1993. No word yet on whether he will continue to be a contributor at CNN. At the time of the Zoom incident, they said that Toobin had asked for time off and that it had been granted.