A prominent political journalist is off the air after he was accused of sexually harassing at least five women. Mark Halperin was reportedly suspended from his role as a senior political analyst for MSNBC and NBC News.
Halperin, who is the co-author of “Game Change” and “Double Down: Game Change 2012,” was the focus of a CNN report alleging he sexually harassed women while he was in a position of power at ABC News.
Halperin apologized in a statement provided Wednesday night to CNN in which he said: “During this period, I did pursue relationships with women that I worked with, including some junior to me. 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.”
MSNBC confirmed Halperin’s exit with its own statement, saying: “We find the story and the allegations very troubling. Mark Halperin is leaving his role as a contributor until the questions around his past conduct are fully understood.”
The moves came “after CNN reported allegations that Halperin propositioned, fondled and pushed himself against five women in the early 2000s while he was ABC News’ political director,” the AP reports. “The women, who asked to remain anonymous, said they didn’t report Halperin’s conduct because they feared retribution or were embarrassed.”
On the “Morning Joe” program on MSNBC, where Halperin has been a frequent panelist, co-host Mika Brzezinski addressed his situation this morning, telling viewers: “We’re going to be following this story as it develops. I’m sure we’ll be talking about it again when we know more about it.”
CNN notes that Halperin, 52, denies some of the allegations, such as grabbing a woman’s breasts and pressing his genitals against multiple women. “Three of the women who spoke to CNN described Halperin as, without consent, pressing an erection against their bodies while he was clothed,” CNN reports.
The CNN report adds: “The women who worked with Halperin and who spoke with CNN did not report to Halperin. However, Halperin made many decisions about political coverage at ABC News, and had a voice in some critical personnel decisions. None of the women have said, though, that he ever promised anything in exchange for sex, or suggested that he would retaliate against anyone.”