Since Hollywood finally outed Harvey Weinstein for his years of sexual assault and sexual harassment, it seems as if a new celebrity, public figure, or prominent individual is accused of sexual misconduct on a daily basis. On Wednesday, even 93-year-old former President George H. W. Bush was accused of sexual harassment. The former president released a statement where he apologized for his behavior and stated his actions were meant to be humorous. But now, a prominent MSNBC journalist has had to sever ties with his network.
Senior political analyst Mark Halperin has been suspended by MSNBC after five women had come forward accusing him of sexual harassment when he worked at ABC News in the 90s and early 2000s. CNN broke the story and reported that accusations leveled against Halperin include forcibly kissing women, groping their breasts, and rubbing his genitalia on them while clothed without consent. Other women who did not experience harassment directly stated that they were aware of the allegations. While Halperin says he did try to make sexual advances with women he worked with, he denies groping his former colleagues or rubbing himself on them.
Halperin told CNN on Wednesday:
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 released a statement on the allegations 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.
All of the women who have come forward did not file formal complaints with ABC News. ABC stated, "Mark left ABC News over a decade ago, and no complaints were filed during his tenure." CNN also notes that no other allegations have been made against Halperin other than those made by his former colleagues at ABC News.
Halperin's only other suspension from the network came in 2011 when MSNBC suspended Halperin indefinitely after he called former President Obama a "d***" on MSNBC's show "Morning Joe."