The New Yorker suspended reporter Jeffrey Toobin after he was caught masturbating during a Zoom call last week with New Yorker and WNYC radio members, according to a report.
Two people who were on the call told VICE separately that the call was an election simulation featuring many of the New Yorker’s biggest stars: Jane Mayer was playing establishment Republicans; Evan Osnos was Joe Biden, Jelani Cobb was establishment Democrats, Masha Gessen played Donald Trump, Andrew Marantz was the far right, Sue Halpern was left wing democrats, Dexter Filkins was the military, and Jeffrey Toobin playing the courts. There were also a handful of other producers on the call from the New Yorker and WNYC.
Both people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity in order to speak freely, noted that it was unclear how much each person saw, but both said that they saw Toobin jerking off.
Natalie Raabe, a press representative for the New Yorker, confirmed Toobin has been suspended but did not explicitly state the reason behind the decision.
“Jeffrey Toobin has been suspended while we investigate the matter,” Raabe said.
Additionally, the New Yorker editor David Remnick wrote in a memo to all staffers: “Dear All, As you may have read in various news reports today, one of our writers, Jeff Toobin, was suspended after an incident on a Zoom call last week. Please be assured that we take such matters seriously and that we are looking into it. Best, David.”
Toobin seemingly confirmed that exposing himself was the motivation behind the suspension, though he claimed it was merely an accident.
“I made an embarrassingly stupid mistake, believing I was off-camera. I apologize to my wife, family, friends, and co-workers,” he told Motherboard in a statement.
Toobin is also the chief legal analyst for CNN and reportedly appeared on the network Saturday. A CNN spokesperson told Law&Crime that Toobin has requested “some time off while he deals with a personal issue, which we have granted.”