Disgraced New Yorker author Jeffrey Toobin’s downfall continues, yet CNN still hasn’t commented on his future at the network.
On Tuesday, The New York Times reported that Toobin had been edited out of the new HBO series “The Undoing,” where he was set to play himself commenting on the show’s murder trial. He was supposed to appear in an episode in late November, but his image was edited out, though the audio of his role remained. His third book was also set to be filmed for a limited series on FX.
Prior to that, in October, Toobin was suspended and later fired by The New Yorker for masturbating while on a Zoom call with colleagues. Vice reported at the time that two people who were on the call said the group was gaming out election scenarios and had gone into different breakout rooms before returning 10 minutes later. Upon returning, it looked like Toobin was on a different call.
“The sources said that when the groups returned from their break out rooms, Toobin lowered the camera. The people on the call said they could see Toobin touching his penis. Toobin then left the call. Moments later, he called back in, seemingly unaware of what his colleagues had been able to see, and the simulation continued,” Vice reported.
Toobin had been contracted as CNN’s chief legal analyst before all of this, yet despite being fired by the New Yorker and cut from HBO, the network has remained silent on Toobin’s situation.
On Monday, journalist Yashar Ali tweeted that even a month after Toobin had been fired from the New Yorker, he still couldn’t “get comment from CNN about his status at the network.” This reporter also tried to get a response from CNN but never heard back.
Toobin initially requested a leave of absence from CNN following the incident. As the Times reported, CNN “executives are unwilling to discuss his future.” The outlet reported that a “spokeswoman confirmed that he remains the network’s chief legal analyst but would not comment further.”
Several CNN employees told the Times that network president Jeff Zucker may be behind Toobin’s continued contract, as he is a fan of the disgraced analyst. As the Times noted, Zucker is reportedly leaving CNN next year, so Toobin’s future may change then.
Aside from his CNN gig, it looks like Toobin is in danger of losing several other projects, the Times reported:
Besides the FX series, Mr. Toobin has several Hollywood projects in development; it is unclear how, if at all, his fall from grace might affect these. (A film version of “American Heiress,” Mr. Toobin’s book about Patty Hearst, was to star Elle Fanning but was canceled by 20th Century Fox Film in 2018.) The Gawker article has been optioned by Anonymous Content, the production and management company. “The Nine,” his best-selling 2007 book about the Supreme Court, is being developed for Warner Bros. by a group led by Rob Reiner. An adaptation of “True Crimes and Misdemeanors” is also in the works.
A representative for Doubleday, Mr. Toobin’s current publisher, said that his contract had been fulfilled with that most recent title, leaving him in limbo there too. But judging from the reaction to and discussion of the now-infamous Zoom call, there would likely be a market for his own writing about it.