The New Yorker has suspended writer Jeffrey Toobin after he masturbated on a Zoom call last week with staff from the magazine and WNYC radio, VICE reported on Monday.
“I made an embarrassingly stupid mistake, believing I was off-camera. I apologize to my wife, family, friends and co-workers,” Toobin said in a statement to VICE, which first reported the suspension. “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.”
“Jeffrey Toobin has been suspended while we investigate the matter,” Natalie Raabe, a spokesperson for the magazine, told TheWrap.
Toobin, who is also the chief legal analyst at CNN, will additionally be taking some “time off” from the network following the incident, a CNN spokesperson told TheWrap.
“Jeff Toobin has asked for some time off while he deals with a personal issue, which we have granted,” the spokesperson said.
According to two unnamed people on the Zoom call who spoke with VICE, the call was an election simulation that featured Toobin playing the role of the courts. Other New Yorker writers, like Jane Mayer, Jelani Cobb, Evan Osnos and Masha Gessen, played the roles of establishment Republicans, establishment Democrats, Joe Biden and Donald Trump, respectively.
During the simulation, there was a brief “strategy session,” at which time it appeared that Toobin was on another video call, according to the individuals who spoke with VICE. Toobin was then seen lowering his camera and touching his penis as he masturbated, VICE reported.
Toobin hasn’t tweeted using his personal Twitter account since Oct. 13. The last message to his over-270,000 followers was analysis surrounding Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation hearing. His bio on the site still identifies him as a staff writer for the New Yorker and chief legal analyst for CNN.
Toobin is a leading political voice and has been for years, rising to prominence thanks to his work and sometimes-fiery appearances on CNN.