For many working in media, Jeffrey Toobin has enjoyed a career to kill for, starting with the fact that he has been a longtime writer for the New Yorker, one of the most enviable journalism gigs on the planet.
The former federal prosecutor, 60, also has penned best-selling books on the Supreme Court and the O.J. Simpson case, the latter of which was transformed into a groundbreaking, Emmy-winning TV series. He has become known to a wide swath of the American public as CNN’s chief legal analyst, where he’s weighed in on a number number of top legal controversies and trials since 2002.
But now it appears that Toobin may have himself killed that very distinguished, lucrative and enviable career by allegedly being caught masturbating during a Zoom video chat with colleagues from the New Yorker and WNYC radio.
It’s not entirely clear yet how all this went down, who saw what and what Toobin was thinking throughout the episode, but the basic outline of the situation, as described by Vice, has shocked fans and others in the media and provoked calls among #MeToo advocates for Toobin to suffer professional consequences because they say he has committed sexual harassment and not, as he said, “an embarrassingly stupid mistake.”
The incident also unleashed schadenfreude among conservatives and made Toobin America’s favorite social media punchline for more than a day, even after — or because — he said he believed he was not visible on the Zoom camera because he had “muted” it.
Countless jokes and memes went viral, with even accused double-murderer O.J. Simpson getting in a laugh at the journalist, whose brand relies on an image of calm authority and professional integrity.
“Let’s just be clear…there is no way the New Yorker and CNN are going to keep Jeffrey Toobin on the payroll,” tweeted freelance journalist Yashar Ali, who has written a number of stories about alleged sexual impropriety committed by powerful men and women in politics and the media.
“He didn’t get caught on a zoom changing his pants or something…he was masturbating,” Ali said. “They may go through the formality of investigations but he will not be kept on.”
Ali noted that Toobin didn’t make the reportedly common but innocent Zoom error of forgetting to turn off the camera before undressing or going to the bathroom.
Instead, during a virtual work meeting to prepare for upcoming election coverage — with some of the New Yorker’s most renowned writers — Toobin knowingly engaged in a sexual act, according to the Vice report.
It’s possible that Toobin thought he had time to pleasure himself during a 10-minute break in the meeting, according to the Vice report. But even that scenario raises questions about self-control in a journalist who has offered plenty of opinions about the behavior of other people who are caught in embarrassing scandals.
Ali’s tweet also points to the fact that the scandal has proved especially embarrassing for the New Yorker, with reporters contacting the magazine and its