CNN analyst and fired New Yorker magazine writer Jeffrey Toobin is back on the air eight months after he was caught masturbating during a work Zoom call.
Toobin, 60, was fired from his longtime staff writing position at the New Yorker magazine last November after he exposed himself to colleagues during the video call a month earlier.
The lawyer, who is also a CNN analyst, was only suspended by the cable network at the time.
Toobin was welcomed back by CNN for the first time on Thursday for a fawning interview in which he issued to a groveling apology to his colleagues for his ‘deeply moronic’ behavior and said he was ‘incredibly grateful’ for being allowed back on air.
‘I’m sorry to the people who were on the Zoom call,’ he said in his first interview with CNN’s Alisyn Camerota.
CNN analyst Jeffrey Toobin has resurfaced on air for the first time in nine months following his suspension after he was caught masturbating during a work Zoom call
Asked if he had thought about what it was like to be on the receiving end of the Zoom call, Toobin said: ‘They were shocked and appalled.
‘I think they realized that this was not intended for them. I think they realized that this was something that I would immediately regret, as I certainly did.
‘It was then, it was that day that I began apologizing and that is something that I have tried to continue to do both publicly and privately.’
Toobin exposed himself to his New Yorker colleagues and masturbated during the Zoom call back in October while they were preparing for their election coverage.
He still maintains that he thought he had muted himself on the Zoom call and was no longer visible.
‘Obviously I wasn’t thinking very well, or very much, and it was something that was inexplicable to me. I wouldn’t say in my defense because nothing is in my defense but I didn’t think that I was on the call. I didn’t think other people could see me. I thought I had turned off the Zoom call,’ he said.
‘That is not a defense, this was deeply moronic and indefensible but that is part of the story.’
Toobin went on to say that he had spent ‘seven miserable months’ off-air ‘trying to be a better person’. He added that he had been in therapy and had spent time volunteering.
‘I am trying to become that person that people can trust again,’ he said.
Toobin was welcomed back by CNN for the first time on Thursday for a fawning interview with Alisyn Camerota in which he issued to a groveling apology to his colleagues
During his first appearance back on air, Toobin apologized to his wife Amy McIntosh and his three children
Speaking about the New Yorker’s decision to fire him, Toobin said he believed the punishment was ‘excessive’.
‘I am a flawed human being who makes mistakes. There is no defense for my conduct. The only issue is what should be the consequences.
‘The New Yorker made one decision about the consequences, CNN made a different decision. I am not going to come up here and try to split hairs and try to come up with justifications.
‘It was wrong, it was stupid and I’m trying to become a better person.
‘I am incredibly grateful to CNN for taking me back.’
Toobin is now resuming his role as CNN’s legal analyst following the months long hiatus.
Welcoming him back on air, Camerota told Toobin during their exchange: ‘Many of us have really missed having your legal analysis to guide us on our programs, so let me be the first to welcome you back.’
Twitter immediately lit up following his return to the air with some slamming CNN for giving him the platform to explain his ‘moronic’ behavior.
‘Maybe the reason @CNN didn’t cover Hunter Biden using the N word was because they were all at @JeffreyToobin’s welcome back party on zoom,’ former White House press secretary Sean Spicer tweeted.
Another said: ‘CNN couldn’t find any other legal analyst but Jeffrey Toobin to come their network. Hard times at CNN.’
Others pointed to how awkward the interview was, with one saying: ‘Good grief. How uncomfortable does Alisyn Camerota look to have be there with Jeffrey Toobin.’
Toobin had been a staff writer at the New Yorker since 1993 before he was fired over the Zoom incident.
He has been a CNN contributor since 2002.
He famously covered the OJ Simpson trial for the New Yorker in the 1990s and later wrote a book about his coverage that became the basis of the The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story TV show in 2016.
Prior to joining the New Yorker, Toobin had worked as an Assistant United States Attorney in Brooklyn and is a Harvard graduate.