So much for a suspension for the Peacock Network’s most prominent political analyst. CNN’s Oliver Darcy reports from sources within NBC that the network has decisively ended its associations with Mark Halperin, a decision which includes MSNBC. The network had suspended Halperin while it conducted its own probe into sexual harassment and assault allegations that Darcy had first reported last week:
NBC News and MSNBC have severed ties with “Game Change” co-author and veteran journalist Mark Halperin, days after multiple women told CNN he sexually harassed or assaulted them during his time at ABC News.
An MSNBC spokesman told CNN on Monday morning that Halperin’s contract with both had been terminated.
Deadline Hollywood confirmed with MSNBC that Halperin’s contract has been terminated. Wherever Halperin lands, it won’t be at either ABC or NBC, and probably won’t be anywhere for a while, at least.
Did NBC just decide that discretion was the better part of valor, considering the nature of the allegations during Halperin’s tenure at ABC? There would certainly be a good business case for doing so. Even if Halperin’s admission and apology was sincere enough to keep people from questioning NBC’s continued use of Halperin as an on-air talent, there would always be the problem of Halperin’s former victims being on-air guests for segments. Just ask Emily Miller how comfortable that experience could be.
Or did NBC discover that the issue wasn’t limited to ABC, as Halperin insisted? The Daily Beast reported on Friday that Halperin continued his pattern of behavior at least through 2011:
While the star pundit issued a contrite statement Friday evening claiming the misconduct ended after he left ABC News, one woman recounted to The Daily Beast a particularly uncomfortable run-in with Halperin at her alma mater in February 2011—years after Halperin left ABC.
Katharine Glenn was then a student at Tulane University when she was a 20-year-old junior preparing to take the LSAT. Now working as a First Amendment lawyer, she said that she wanted her story told in the hopes that it helps ensure that Halperin “never gets near [female] college students ever again.” …
According to two sources who were present at the time, Halperin made such inappropriate overtures to at least two female students during his swing through Tulane—not just Glenn. In one instance, an adjunct professor named Mike Sherman “intervened,” as one ex-student described, while Halperin was making unwanted advances towards a female student.
Perhaps that was enough for NBC, who had Halperin under contract at that time (since June 2010 at MSNBC). One has to wonder whether NBC’s internal investigation found anything else, but we probably won’t have to wonder for long if they did. At this point, with Halperin having no base of power at all in the industry, his victims can now come forward without worrying about retribution — or at least they can worry less about it.