CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin was known for many things prior to being caught masturbating on zoom during a work call with his former colleagues at The New Yorker.
The analyst was once an assistant attorney for the Eastern District of New York in Brooklyn and rose to fame for his legal coverage at The New Yorker and a subsequent book detailing the O.J. Simpson trial. The book was later turned into the award-winning FX series, “The People vs. O.J. Simpson.” He joined CNN in the early 2000s where he later became the network’s chief legal analyst.
But in an awkward and embarrassing turn of events, his respect and notoriety were overshadowed last October after news broke of the exposed zoom call. The events that followed included his termination from The New Yorker, a publication he worked at for 27 years, and an eight-month leave from CNN.
“I made an embarrassingly stupid mistake, believing I was off-camera. I apologize to my wife, family, friends and co-workers,” Toobin said last year. “I believed I was not visible on Zoom. I thought no one on the Zoom call could see me. I thought I had muted the Zoom video.”
Then, on Thursday, Toobin was welcomed back to CNN with open arms. appearring alongside anchor Alisyn Camerota on “CNN Newsroom.”
“I have spent the seven subsequent months — miserable months — in my life . . . trying to be a better person,” Toobin told viewers on Thursday. “I’m in therapy, trying to do some public service, working in a food bank . . . working on a new book. . . . But I am trying to become the kind of person that people can trust again.”
While there aren’t any applicable examples in this situation to compare how white privilege has afforded Toobin a second shot at his career, Toobin’s reemergence didn’t go unnoticed.
“Cancel culture doesn’t exist for white men no matter how much they try to convince you otherwise,” Jemele Hill tweeted, resharing The Hill’s reporting on Toobin’s CNN return.
CNN remained largely silent on Toobin’s controversy and obviously did not resort to terminating him like his former employer. That in itself speaks volumes. And like some viewers pointed out, were there no other candidates from minority communities who could easily fill Toobin’s shoes?
According to The Washington Post, who spoke to a CNN executive under anonymity the network believed Toobin suffered enough.
“I live in the world. I know social media, what the reactions are likely to be,” he told Camerota on Thursday. “I hope they will at least be mixed.”
And like Toobin suggested during his interview, social media had a lot to say.