Penguin was the latest entity to sever ties with Halperin in the wake of allegations of sexual harassment.
“In light if the recent news regarding Mark Halperin, the Penguin Press has decided to cancel our plans to publish a book he was co-authoring on the 2016 election,” Penguin said in a statement.
Earlier on Thursday, HBO said it dropped a miniseries about the 2016 presidential election that was to be based on Halperin and Heinemann’s book. The network said it “has no tolerance for sexual harassment within the company or its productions.”
CNN reported Wednesday that five women had come forward accusing the journalist, who has co-written several books about recent elections and contributes to the Showtime series “The Circus,” of sexual harassment in incidents ranging from propositioning them for sex to kissing to grabbing one’s breasts against her will. CNN did not name the accusers. The incidents are alleged to have taken place while Halperin worked for ABC News.
After the story was published, journalist Emily Miller tweeted that she “was NOT one of the victims in this story about Mark Halperin. I was ANOTHER junior ABC employee he attacked.” She said that she did not report it at the time “because I thought I was the only one, and I blamed myself, and I was embarrassed and I was scared of him.”
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Another woman, Dianna Goldberg May, went on record in a Washington Post story in which she said that Halperin harassed her when she was a young researcher at ABC News and he was a rising star, as political director at the network. She said that multiple times, she was alone with him in his office and he instructed her to sit on his lap.
“During this period, I did pursue relationships with women that I worked with, including some junior to me,” Halperin said in a statement. “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.”
Earlier Thursday, NBC News said it had suspended Halperin’s role as a contributor “until the questions around his past conduct are fully understood.” Showtime said Thursday that it “will continue to evaluate all options should we decide to move forward with another season” of “The Circus.” The network noted that “we have not seen nor have there been allegations of any untoward behavior” during Halperin’s tenure on the series.
During his tenure at ABC News, Halperin authored a daily political news roundup called The Note, which became a must read in Washington and among political junkies, and a forerunner to media outlets use of digital newsletters. But he gained fame and notoriety when he teamed with Heilemann for the book “Game Change,” an insider’s take on the 2008 election, and the follow-up “Double Down,” about the 2012 race. HBO adapted “Game Change” into a movie directed by Jay Roach, focusing on John McCain’s selection of Sarah Palin as his running mate.
Halperin and Heilemann teamed up for “The Circus,” a weekly docuseries on the 2016 election, and co-hosted “With All Due Respect,” a daily show that ran on Bloomberg but ended its run last year. A representative for Heilemann said he had no comment.
The Harvey Weinstein scandal has triggered a new attention on sexual harassment and willingness among accusers to come forward. The focus on Halperin is a signal that it is reaching well beyond entertainment, into other industries and politics and government.