Political commentator and best-selling author Mark Halperin will be taking an unscheduled vacation from his job, as an analyst for NBC and MSNBC, as the networks investigate allegations of sexual harassment.
Late Wednesday, CNN revealed that the Game Change author had been accused of sexual assault during his time at ABC News. According to the women who spoke to CNN — all Halperin's co-workers at the network — Halperin propositioned them for sex, but also, allegedly, grabbed their breasts, and rubbed against them so that they could feel his erect penis through his pants.
Halperin denies that he ever touched or rubbed against the women, but did admit that he pursued encounters with some of his colleagues, telling CNN:
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.
That includes taking time away from his role as a senior political analyst and regular Morning Joe contributor. Mika Brzezinski addressed the allegations Wednesday morning, telling the show's audience that, while Halperin was a "friend of the show" there appeared to be "unwanted advances and inappropriate behavior.” She went on to claim that Morning Joe will be “following this story as it develops. I’m sure we are going to be talking about it again when we know more about it.”
MSNBC, which hosts Halperin more than its sister network, released a statement to Fox News, saying the allegations were "troubling:" "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."