Mark Halperin made a statement apologizing for ‘inappropriate behavior’ after he was suspended from his job for allegedly sexually harassing five women at ABC News. Read his apology and the accusations.
Leading political journalist Mark Halperin, 52, is the latest powerful man in media to be accused of sexual harassment by women in the workplace. Halperin has been suspended from his roles at MSNBC and NBC News after five women accused him of sexual assault while they worked for him at ABC News in the early 2000s. While not calling out the specific allegations, which include groping breasts and forcibly kissing women working for him in junior positions, Halperin released a statement apologizing for the alleged incidents:
“During this period, I did pursue relationships with women that I worked with, including some junior to me,” Halperin, also the author of Game Change, said in a statement to CNN on October 25. “I now understand from these accounts that my behavior was inappropriate and caused others pain. For that, I am deeply sorry and I apologize. Under the circumstances, I’m going to take a step back from my day-to-day work while I properly deal with this situation.” Halperin appears frequently on MSNBC as a contributor, and on NBC News as a political analyst. MSNBC released their own statement about the situation, saying that they’d be suspending Halperin “until the questions around his past conduct are fully understood.”
The sexual assault allegations against Halperin are truly shocking. One woman, who spoke to CNN on the condition of anonymity, claimed that she was invited up to his office in the early 2000s, when Halperin was political director at ABC News. She thought she was just there to have a soda, but Halperin allegedly forcibly kissed her and “pressed his genitals against her body.” “I just froze. I didn’t know what to do,” she said.
The second woman, another former ABC News employee (also unnamed), said that she reached out to Halperin for professional advice during the 2004 campaign cycle. She was 25 years old at the time. “The first meeting I ever had with him was in his office and he just came up from behind — I was sitting in a chair from across his desk — and he came up behind me and [while he was clothed] he pressed his body on mine, his penis, on my shoulder,” the woman told CNN. “I was obviously completely shocked. I can’t even remember how I got out of there — [but] I got out of there and was freaked out by that whole experience.”
She said that she was so fresh in the new industry that she didn’t know if this was the norm, “the sort of thing that was expected of you if you wanted something from a male figure in news.” She claims that despite turning him down repeatedly, Halperin continued to cross boundaries, even allegedly propositioning her for sex on the campaign trail. “He would say, ‘Why don’t you meet me upstairs?’ And I would say, ‘That’s not a good idea.’ And he would push the request further.”
The third woman, another former ABC News employee, told CNN that Halperin also allegedly propositioned her for sex while on the road. “I excused myself to go to the bathroom and he was standing there when I opened the door propositioning [me] to go into the other bathroom to do something,” she said. “It freaked me out. I came out of the ladies’ room and he was just standing there. Like almost blocking the door.” It’s unclear what year this allegedly happened.
The fourth woman, who was in a junior role to Halperin at ABC News, said he allegedly asked her late at night on the campaign trail to go up to his hotel room. She declined. The fifth woman wasn’t an ABC News employee at the time of her alleged incident with Halperin. She was uncomfortable sharing specifics with CNN, but said Halperin (clothed) allegedly pressed his erect penis against her body without consent. For more information on the sexual assault allegations in Hollywood, listen to the HL Podcast HERE.
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