In a year that has shown us nothing but death and destruction, we finally have a reason to laugh out loud. The New Yorker has suspended staff writer Jeffrey Toobin because of a “Zoom dick incident” which is exactly what it sounds like:
Toobin said in a statement to Motherboard: “I made an embarrassingly stupid mistake, believing I was off-camera. I apologize to my wife, family, friends and co-workers.”
“I believed I was not visible on Zoom. I thought no one on the Zoom call could see me. I thought I had muted the Zoom video,” he added.
It’s always a relief to discover the people who seem like they might be complete idiots are in fact complete idiots. The fact that everyone Toobin works with will now by snickering behind his back about the Zoom dick incident forevermore is proof karma really is a bitch.
But I think his explanation is hiding a deeper mystery. Yes, I understand that he thought the video was muted and, tragically for his co-workers who have all rushed out to buy a gallon jug of eye bleach, it was not. But the real question is the one his statement doesn’t address…
What were you doing, Jeffrey?
We all know why he got caught. What we don’t know is what prompted him to free willy when he was supposed to be on a work call.
Did he make a trip to the bathroom and not finish zipping up before returning to his home office? That would be stupid but the kind of thing one could explain as a mistake.
But there are darker possibilities as well. Maybe this was intended as a private show of disrespect to co-workers, i.e. you can’t see me but I’m waving Darth Sidious at all of you!
Or was he trying to, ahem, multi-task because the meeting was a bit boring? If so he wouldn’t be the first political commentator to get caught.
Hopefully you see my point. There are degrees of bad here which depend on what Toobin thought he was doing when he got caught. The New Yorker is reportedly investigating so at some point we’ll know for certain whether Toobin was treated fairly or just got the shaft from his employer.
While we await those answers, CNN has already decided the incident doesn’t do any real harm to Toobin’s reputation as a rock solid commentator. He appeared on CNN over the weekend. In my mind they added a chyron below him that said This Man Exposed His Winkie to Co-Workers but that didn’t actually happen.
In closing, I can’t improve on this pun-intended tweet by Robert George:
The Jeffrey Toobin incident isn't really that big a thing: CNN always knew, with him, they were getting a package deal.
— Robert A George (@RobGeorge) October 19, 2020
Update: The Associated Press reports Toobin is stepping away from CNN as well:
Author-commentator Jeffrey Toobin has been suspended by the New Yorker and is stepping away from his job as CNN’s senior legal analyst pending what the cable network is calling a “personal matter.”
How will we manage without insightful commentary like this.
Update: Vice has updated the story to confirm exactly what Toobin was doing when he got caught:
Both people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity in order to speak freely, noted that it was unclear how much each person saw, but both said that they saw Toobin jerking off. The two sources described a juncture in the election simulation when there was a strategy session, and the Democrats and Republicans went into their respective break out rooms for about 10 minutes. At this point, they said, it seemed like Toobin was on a second video 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.
If ever there was a case to be made for someone’s last name becoming a generic description I think this is it. Henceforth, men caught touching themselves on a video call were caught Toobin.