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Jeffrey Toobin, of Zoom masturbating fame, has returned to his job as CNN’s chief legal analyst. Before getting back to work, he sat down with CNN anchor Alisyn Camerota to discuss his “embarrassingly stupid mistake” in an extremely cringe-y eight-minute interview. Seeing as he was only out of work for under a year, this uncomfortable sit-down — in which Toobin discusses exposing himself during an October 2020 Zoom call, and subsequently getting fired from The New Yorker — might have actually been a more painful punishment than his seven-month “cancellation.”
“Obviously, I wasn’t thinking very well or very much, and it was something that was inexplicable to me,” Toobin said, adding that he has apologized to all his colleagues and his family. “I think one point — I wouldn’t exactly say in my defense, because nothing is really in my defense — I didn’t think I was on the call. I didn’t think other people could see me. I thought that I had turned off the Zoom call. Now, that’s not a defense. This was deeply moronic and indefensible.”
It was first reported that Toobin was suspended from The New Yorker after he was seen masturbating during an election simulation with the magazine’s staff. Several weeks later, on November 11, a Condé Nast representative announced that he had been fired after a company investigation. According to Toobin, this punishment went too far.
“They looked at my entire career at The New Yorker and found that there had been no complaints about me, no issues… It was just this incident… But nevertheless, they made the decision to get rid of me, which needless to say was heartbreaking for me,” he told Camerota. “I thought this punishment was excessive, but look, that’s why they don’t ask the criminal to be the judge in his own case.”
CNN, on the other hand, never fired Toobin. Instead, the network said that he had requested time off “while he deals with a personal issue.” Over the past several “miserable months,” Toobin said he has been spending time in therapy, volunteering at a food bank, and trying to be a better person. Oh, and he’s also been working on a book.
Some people — including Toobin himself — think he was unfairly fired and dragged through the mud for an embarrassing accident (which, let’s be honest, was workplace sexual harassment, mistake or not), but the fact that he’s back on CNN, promoting a new project, and moving on in a matter of months shows that, for the Toobins of the world, consequences really tend to just be temporary.
Now that he’s back at his extremely prestigious job, Toobin’s biggest challenge might be all the jokes on social media. The internet never forgets, especially after seven months.
“I live in the world. I know social media, what the reactions are likely to be,” he said. “I hope they will at least be mixed.” They aren’t really, but all things considered, Toobin got off pretty easy — pun intended. Remind me again, what’s cancel culture, exactly?
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