CNN chief legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin appeared on air on Thursday for the first time since he exposed himself during a Zoom video call with former colleagues from the New Yorker.
Although the New Yorker fired Toobin after the October incident, in which he masturbated while accidentally leaving the camera on during the call, Toobin was not fired from CNN and took a leave of absence for several months. Toobin addressed the fallout from the incident in an interview with CNN anchor Alisyn Camerota.
—@JeffreyToobin says he was told that The New Yorker reviewed his whole career and didn't find any other instances of misconduct. He adds that he feels firing him was "excessive punishment."
"But look, that's why they don't ask the criminal to be the judge in his own case." pic.twitter.com/mswiEcbBJZ
— Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) June 10, 2021
“To quote Jay Leno, what the hell were you thinking?” Camerota asked.
“Well, obviously I wasn’t thinking very well or very much,” Toobin responded. “Now, that is not a defense. This was deeply moronic and indefensible.”
Toobin said that during his absence, “I have spent the seven subsequent months, miserable months, in my life trying to be a better person. In therapy, trying to do some public service, working in a food bank, working on a new book. I am trying to become the kind of person that people can trust again.”
Toobin added that he was “incredibly grateful” that CNN is taking him back, saying he found the New Yorker firing “excessive punishment” but “that’s why they don’t ask the criminal to be the judge in his own case.”
A CNN executive, speaking on condition of anonymity, supported the decision to bring Toobin back in comments to the Washington Post.
“I don’t think that one terrible mistake should define a person or ruin their employment opportunities for life,” the executive said.