JEFFREY Toobin made his first CNN appearance today after the awkward Zoom masturbation scandal last year.
Toobin attended a meeting on October 15, 2020, about a presidential election podcast for WNYC and The New Yorker when he allegedly began touching his penis and blowing air kisses to someone.
Toobin, 60, was swiftly fired from The New Yorker but he reappeared on the airwaves today to be grilled by CNN's Alisyn Camerota.
The TV host asked Toobin – who had previously been a regular contributor – "what the hell were you thinking" during the bombshell interview, in which he hinted that his sacking from the newspaper was excessive.
"Well, obviously, I wasn't thinking very well or very much, and it was something that was inexplicable to me," he said.
"I think one point – I wouldn't exactly say in my defense, because nothing is really in my defense. I didn't think I was on the call. I didn't think other people could see me."
"You thought that you had turned off your camera?" Camerota pressed him in the interview.
"Correct. I thought that I had turned off the Zoom call. Now, that's not a defense," Toobin replied. "This was deeply moronic and indefensible. But I mean, that is part of the story.
Well, obviously, I wasn't thinking very well or very much, and it was something that was inexplicable to me.
"And you know, I have spent the seven subsequent months, miserable months in my life, I can certainly confess, trying to be a better person."
The New York Times previously reported how he allegedly angled the computer camera, touched himself, and blew kisses at someone who wasn't one of his coworkers during the 2020 Zoom meeting.
After revealing that he had apologized to his colleagues and done volunteer work to make amends, he told Camerota: "I'm a flawed human being who makes mistakes, and you know, there is no defense for my conduct.
"The only issue is what should be the consequences, and the 'New Yorker' made one decision about the consequences. CNN made a different decision, fortunately, for which I'm very grateful.
"But I am not going to come up here and, you know, split hairs and try to come up with justifications or explanations. It was wrong. It was stupid. And I'm trying to be a better person."
However, he didn't directly answer if he thought he firing from The New Yorker fit the alleged crime.
"I am the worst person to ask that question," he said. "I mean, obviously, I love The New Yorker," he explained.
"I loved working there. I felt like I was a very good contributor to that magazine for a very long time, and I thought this punishment was excessive.
"But look, you know, that's why they don't ask the criminal to be the judge in his own case. I mean, I thought it was an excessive punishment. I'm incredibly grateful to CNN for taking me back."
Toobin first joined CNN back in 2002, covering the "sexual proclivities" of well-known figures like Bill Clinton and Anthony Weiner before his Zoom scandal erupted in 2020, Camerota noted.
Although he wasn't fired from his CNN post as senior legal analyst, Toobin was on leave – until today.
The 60-year-old analyst's debut comes after he was accused of "shocking" his coworkers during a virtual meeting and they revealed more details about his Zoom actions to the press back in October.
Staffers reportedly told The New York Times how he allegedly angled the computer camera, touched himself, and blew kisses at someone who wasn't one of his coworkers during the Zoom exposure.
Speaking about the incident, New Yorker staff writer Masha Gessen recalled: "It wasn’t a full-out sexual act, but it was much more than a second. I was really, truly shocked.”
Gessen described the incident as "traumatic" after Toobin was fired from his staff writer role at the New Yorker, banned "indefinitely" from NPR's airwaves, and his conference call exposure spawned the hashtag #MeToobin.
Toobin worked at the Condé Nast magazine for 27 years before he was ousted and Gessen said it was "tragic that a guy would get fired for really just doing something really stupid."
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