I should be shot for that headline — but if you’re going to shoot me, you’ll also have to shoot every other headline writer on the Web today. (Fine with me, I hear you saying.) Five women have stepped forward to accuse NBC talking head and frequent “Morning Joe” analyst Mark Halperin of sexual harassment during his stint at ABC, including conduct as gross as pressing his erection against multiple unwilling women:
The stories of harassment shared with CNN range in nature from propositioning employees for sex to kissing and grabbing one’s breasts against her will. Three of the women who spoke to CNN described Halperin as, without consent, pressing an erection against their bodies while he was clothed. Halperin denies grabbing a woman’s breasts and pressing his genitals against the three women.
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.
One woman says: “he came up behind me and [while he was clothed] he pressed his body on mine, his penis, on my shoulder.” Another says: “I went up to have a soda and talk and — he just kissed me and grabbed my boobs.”
“Halperin has declared that he will be “stepping back” from media, seeming to acknowledge his actions:
“During this period, I did pursue relationships with women that I worked with, including some junior to me,” Halperin said in a statement to CNN Wednesday night. “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 is the co-author of the book Game Change, a book about the 2008 elections that was made into an HBO movie.
In exchange for your allowing me to live another day, I’ll skip the Hurricane Harvey Weinstein puns.
No, thank you.