Following a CNN report Wednesday evening that detailed sexual harassment allegations from five women against journalist Mark Halperin, MSNBC has issued a statement saying that he’s currently out at that network and NBC News.
“We find the story and the allegations very troubling,” said an MSNBC spokesperson on Thursday. “Mark Halperin is leaving his role as a contributor until the questions around his past conduct are fully understood.”
The accounts from the five women range from propositioning them for sex to groping them. Three of the five women also allege in the CNN report that Halperin pressed his erection against their bodies, which he has denied. He has also denied touching one of the women’s breasts.
MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” on which Halperin was a regular contributor, addressed the allegations on Thursday morning. “We are going to be following this story as it develops,” said co-host Mika Brzezinski. “I’m sure we are going to be talking about it again when we know more about it.”
In a statement to CNN about the allegations, Halperin said on Wednesday night, “During this period, I did pursue relationships with women that I worked with, including some junior to me. 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.”
On Thursday morning, Emily J. Miller, who has worked as senior political correspondent at One America News Network, tweeted that she was not one of the unnamed women in the CNN story but “I was ANOTHER junior ABC employee he attacked.”
She added that she did not report it to ABC “because I thought I was the only one, and I blamed myself, and I was embarrassed and I was scared of him.”
The women’s advocacy group UltraViolet called on NBC and HBO to sever their ties with Halperin, as well as Penguin Publishing. Penguin published Halperin’s books “Game Change” and “Double Down,” written with John Heilemann, and is publishing a 2018 campaign book set to be published early next year. HBO has plans to adapt it.
“Mark Halperin’s predatory behavior towards the women he worked with at ABC News is yet another public example of how men use their positions of power to sexually harass and abuse women,” said Karin Roland, chief campaigns officer at UltraViolet.
“In the last few weeks, the American public has seen just how pervasive this culture of workplace harassment is in nearly every industry—and how women have been forced to endure this abuse in silence. That era of silence is over: Sexual predators will be named, shamed, and together, women and their allies will demand accountability.”