This weekend we learned that former MSNBC regular and accused serial sexual harasser Mark Halperin has landed himself a new book deal. Regan Arts will be releasing a new book by Halperin in November, providing advice on “How to Beat Trump” next year. The author remains something of a sore spot in the #MeToo movement and this news left some of his former friends and allies shaking their heads. But that was nothing compared to the reactions of some of his accusers, who feel that he’s being given a pass without doing the required walk of shame first. (Daily Beast)
The news came as a shock to accusers, including one who described the development as a “slap in the face to all the women that he has victimized.”
Reached by phone, Eleanor McManus, cofounder of Trident DMG, who came forward with her own story about Halperin in 2017, said the book deal comes before an apology to his alleged victims.
“He leveraged his position as a prominent journalist to prey on women. He has yet to take responsibility for his actions by apologizing to his victims or demonstrating genuine contrition,” McManus said in a statement to The Daily Beast. “Giving him a book once again puts him in a position of authority and that is a slap in the face to all the women that he has victimized.”
First of all, speaking purely from a cold, capitalist perspective, I should point out that Mark Halperin has never been convicted of a crime to the best of my knowledge and, as such, is entitled to pursue a living to the best of his ability. If Regan Arts wants to cut a deal with him and is willing to live with the fallout from that decision, that’s on them. But with all that said… c’mon, man.
It’s true that some other men who were caught up in the Me Too storm managed to make a comeback. For example, Chris Hardwick was shut out of show business for a time, but now he’s back hosting all the old shows he used to have, plus a few more. Then again, Hardwick’s situation involved a single woman (his former girlfriend) who seemed to raise questions about her own accusations. Halperin was credibly accused by at least a dozen women telling remarkably similar stories from a contemporaneous time period. Back in 2017, even his Morning Joe buddies were forced to throw him under the bus.
Also, Halperin (unlike some others accused during the same period) has offered neither a vigorous denial of the claims nor any sort of meaningful apology. He just seemed to disappear into the wilderness for almost two years.
Unless the blowback from this announcement results in the publisher canceling the deal, however, the die seems to have been cast. So what happens then? Two immediate groups of people will be under a lot of scrutiny.
The first will be the networks and morning show hosts who usually line up dutifully and offer free publicity in the form of interviews whenever a member of their own tribe puts out a new book. MSNBC, CNN, NBC News and all the rest would, in earlier times, have all given generous appearances to Halperin to drive his book sales. Will Morning Joe, Jake Tapper or Chuck Todd be allowing Mark to darken their doorways? If so, the reactions should be… interesting.
The people who participated in interviews with Halperin and are quoted in his book will probably be facing even more of a backlash, and some of it has already begun. He reportedly quotes at least 75 Democratic strategists in the tome, including some very recognizable names. He lists Donna Brazile, David Axelrod, James Carville, Jennifer Granholm, and Kathleen Sebelius among them. The women, in particular, will likely be asked why they decided to toss Mark a lifeline. (For her part, Donna Brazile said she felt her voice was “too important” to leave out of this important strategic offering.)
The Democrats are in the middle of a nasty primary battle right now and have been looking for ways to close ranks and focus on their GOP enemies. I’m sure yet another internal food fight over Halperin’s sudden reappearance is just about the last thing they needed.