Jeffrey Toobin's cringe-inducing gaffe is causing quite a stir. Motherboard was the first to report the unfortunate news that the New Yorker writer and CNN analyst began masturbating during a break in a Zoom work call with his magazine colleagues. Toobin has apologized for what he calls his "embarrassingly stupid mistake" and explained that he was not aware his camera was still on. Reaction:
- OJ Simpson: Yes, even OJ has gotten in on the story. "“Daaaaamn, Jeffrey Toobin. At least Pee-wee Herman was in an X-rated movie theater,” Simpson says in a tweeted video. "I’m just saying." The connection? As Variety notes, Toobin covered the Simpson case and wrote a 1997 book about it called The Run of His Life: The People v. O.J. Simpson. It was later adapted into an award-winning TV anthology, The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story.
- Advice: At Gizmodo, Tom McKay has a mostly tongue-in-cheek advice column for those who want to avoid a similar fate. No. 1: "Consider avoiding having your junk out in the first place." But the piece does explain how to actually use Zoom's "stop video" button properly.
- On the right: Toobin is not well liked among conservatives who see a liberal bias in his work. The Daily Caller notes that critics are calling attention to a 2019 tweet in which he wrote, "Forty percent of the Republican appointees to the Supreme Court have been credibly accused of sexual misconduct." Writes one commenter: "And now 100% of you have." But at RedState, Mike Miller is hesitant about piling on, drawing a parallel to Anthony Wiener. "It’s easy as heck to ridicule these guys—so many puns, so little time—but on the other hand, again, the issues. Particularly for their loved ones."
- On the left: Rachel Maddow and Chris Hayes of MSNBC cracked each other up Monday night referring to the scandal without actually mentioning Toobin, notes Mediaite, which has the clip. "Let us never speak of this publicly again," Maddow says at one point.
- Fallout: New Yorker editor David Remnick isn't joking about it. A message to staff, via Motherboard reporter Laura Wagner: "Dear All, As you may have read in various news reports today, one of our writers, Jeff Toobin, was suspended after an incident on a Zoom call last week. Please be assured that we take such matters seriously and that we are looking into it." Some high-profile New Yorker writers, including Jane Mayer, were in on the call, which was an election simulation. Toobin also is on hiatus from CNN, with no word on how long that will last. More reaction at the Cut, which is henceforth referring to the scandal as the ZDI, the first and last letters standing for "Zoom" and "incident."
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