On Monday, the New Yorker confirmed that it suspended the staff writer, Jeffrey Toobin, after his inappropriate behavior during a Zoom call. Some of the employees of the magazine had a virtual meeting over Zoom to discuss the coverage of upcoming events. Two people familiar with the meet anonymously confirmed the incident. Mr. Toobin later admitted that he was unaware that people could see him as he was convinced that he had switched-off his microphone and video camera.
The Incident on the Zoom call
Last week, staff writers at the New Yorker and some employees from WNYC, companies which have a joint podcast, met on a Zoom call to discuss the election night coverage. When they collectively decided to go for a break, Mr. Toobin reportedly switched to a second call. According to the two anonymous tippers, the call seemed to be a video call and sounded a lot like phone-sex. After the whole incident, when the meeting resumed, everyone was courteous enough to continue without addressing the elephant in the room. However, the anonymous witness revealed that Mr. Toobin was completely clueless that his actions had been witnessed.
Jeffrey Toobin’s statement
On Monday afternoon, after the reports were out, Mr. Toobin issued a statement:
I made an embarrassingly stupid mistake, believing I was off-camera. I apologize to my wife, family, friends, and co-workers. I thought I had muted the Zoom video. I thought no one on the Zoom call could see me.
When he was approached for further comment, the 60-year-old declined to confirm any other details.
New Yorker’s statement and colleagues’ reaction
A spokesperson for The New Yorker revealed that Mr. Toobin had been suspended, and the matter was being investigated further. Masha Gessen, who was also present in the call, supported Mr. Toobin by stating that he was probably unaware that the people in the meeting could see him. Mr. Toobin is one of the most well-known media legal analysts in the U.S. He has worked for the New Yorker for the past 25 years and is also a senior legal analyst at CNN. After the whole incident, CNN issued a statement revealing Toobin’s request for some time off as he deals with a personal matter. The company said that it has granted his request.