NBC News and MSNBC political analyst Mark Halperin, co-author of the best-selling book “Game Change,” might be out of a job after five women accused him of sexual harassment.
The women told CNN in a report published Wednesday night that Halperin sexually harassed them sometime in the early 2000s, while he was political director at ABC News.
“We find the story and the allegations very troubling. Mark Halperin is leaving his role as a contributor until the questions around his past conduct are fully understood,” MSNBC said in a statement to Fox News.
According to the allegations, Halperin grabbed women’s breasts and three women accused the political pundit of pressing an erection against their bodies while he was clothed. Another woman said the “Morning Joe” regular forcibly kissed her after inviting her to his office to have a soda.
“I went up to have a soda and talk and — he just kissed me and grabbed my boobs,” she told CNN. “I just froze. I didn’t know what to do.”
In a statement of his own, Halperin apologized for his inappropriate behavior and said he would be stepping away from his senior role at NBC News and MSNBC:
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, just hours after CNN broke the story about Halperin, “Morning Joe” co-anchor Mika Brzezinski described the veteran analyst as “our friend” and said the show will be “following this story as it develops.”
How Morning Joe covered the “allegations regarding our friend Mark Halperin”: pic.twitter.com/nSor2IajhK
— Matthew Gertz (@MattGertz) October 26, 2017
“I’m sure we'll be talking about it again when we know more about it,” Brzezinski said.
Halperin, who is unmarried but has been in a longtime relationship with girlfriend Karen Avrich, according to the International Business Times, denies the allegations against him.