Disgraced CNN legal correspondent Jeffrey Toobin Thursday made an abrupt and unannounced return to the cable network, and acknowledged masturbating while on a Zoom call with colleagues from The New Yorker last year.
Toobin, 61, who became the butt of jokes by late-night comics after the October incident and was fired a month later by The New Yorker, where he was a staff writer, apologized for his actions in a segment with CNN anchor Alisyn Camerota, who described the incident in which Toobin “was caught masturbating on camera.”
“I’m trying now to say how sorry I am, sincerely. Above all. I am sorry to my wife and to my family, but I’m also sorry to the people on the Zoom call. I’m sorry to my former colleagues at The New Yorker. I’m sorry to my current, fortunately, still colleagues at CNN. And I’m sorry to the people who read my work and watched me on CNN who thought I was a better person than this,” he said. “I’ve got a lot to rebuild, but I feel very privileged and very lucky that I’m going to be able to try to do that.”
CNN confirmed Toobin’s reinstatement as a legal analyst but made no further comment. The New Yorker declined comment.
In confirming Camerota’s description, he added a slight qualification, explaining he wasn’t aware that he was on camera while masturbating.
“I didn’t think other people could see me,” he said. “I thought that I had turned off the Zoom call. Now, that’s not a defense. This was deeply moronic and indefensible.”
Toobin said he started apologizing to New Yorker colleagues the same day.
Vice first reported on the incident in October. At the time, Toobin issued a less-detailed statement.
“I made an embarrassingly stupid mistake, believing I was off-camera. I apologize to my wife, family, friends and co-workers,” he told Vice.