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Jeffrey Toobin returns to CNN 8 months after ‘Zoom Dick’ affair

Jeffrey Toobin explains the incident

Jeffrey Toobin explains the October 2020 “Zoom dick” incident on CNN in June 2021.
Screenshot: Oliver Darcy / CNN / Twitter (Fair use)

If you’ve noticed a glaring absence on CNN of Network Chief Legal Analyst Jeffrey Toobin in the past eight months or so, you probably already know it’s because he and CNN took a hiatus after unwittingly groped his penis in front of coworkers during an October 2020 Zoom call. The incident cost him his other 27-year job as a writer for the New Yorker and, to add insult to injury, quickly became a internet even.

Well, Toobin is now back for his post-cancellation rehabilitation tour. By the envelope, Toobin reappeared on CNN Thursday to explain his side of the Zoom dick incident and to state that he was “incredibly grateful to CNN for taking [him] dos. “Toobin will return to the network as chief legal analyst, according to CNN.

Anyone who works remotely has pondered the etiquette of video calling at work during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic – how to dress, whether to chase animals out of the room, whether eating or drinking is rude. But Toobin’s wasn’t exactly a routine error, only slightly lower on the yardage yard than the countless “Zoombombs” who has seen trolls invade classrooms and meetings across the country and video streaming software own security holes.

The initial incident happened while Toobin was working remotely on a podcast with colleagues including Jane Mayer and Masha Gessen from The New Yorker and others from radio station WNYC. Gessen told the New York Times that colleagues saw Toobin adjusting his webcam, exposing and touching his genitals, and giving an aerial kiss to someone who was apparently not at work. It seemed Toobin was unaware that he was playing video on the work call, but he was immediately suspended of the magazine (later fired) and has not been invited again to CNN until now.

Toobin said CNN Newsroom Anchor Alisyn Camerota that even though he remained “on leave” from CNN and his behavior was “deeply insane and indefensible”, it was unintentional and certainly not part of a pattern.

“Obviously I wasn’t thinking very well or very well and that was something that was inexplicable to me,” Toobin told Camerota, according to The Wrap. “I think one point – I wouldn’t say exactly ‘in my defense’ because nothing is really in my defense – I didn’t think I was on the call. I didn’t think others could see me. It is not a defense.

“It was not the straw that broke the camel’s back,” he added. “It was just this incident. I was certainly relieved, but not surprised, that this was what they found, but yet they made the decision to get rid of me, which, needless to say, broke my heart.

Toobin added that his subsequent firing from the New Yorker seemed “excessive, but look: that’s why they’re not asking the criminal to be the judge in his own case.”

If someone doesn’t know how not to have this happen to them, here is our complete guide to not removing your genitals in front of colleagues during a Zoom call.

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