Hey, remember that time New Yorker writer and CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin jerked the gherkin during a work call and was promptly fired from the New Yorker, put on leave at CNN, and disappeared from the public eye? Sure you do, or if you don’t that’s okay, because it’s been a long year. Regardless, the forgiveness cycle for men behaving badly is quite short, if Toobin’s appearance on CNN means anything at all. Not even a full year after the unfortunate Zoom dick incident, Toobin has returned to break his silence on his eight months out of the limelight.
Speaking to CNN’s Alisyn Camerota on Newsroom, Toobin wasn’t quite apologetic about his behavior, and was also incapable of speaking about what he’d done without assuming some sort of defensive stance. “Well obviously I wasn’t thinking very well or very much,” Toobin said to Camerota. “I think at one point... I wouldn’t say in my defense, since nothing is in my defense—I didn’t think I was on the call. I didn’t think other people could see me. Now that’s not a defense, this is deeply moronic and indefensible, but that is part of the story.”
Blessings be to Toobin for clarifying that he was not intending to jerk it on camera for his colleagues during what I believe was an election simulation, but I’d also like to suggest that by doubling down on the fact that he didn’t think anyone could see him is very much an attempt at self-defense! He is presenting a reason for why he did what he did, which is defense-adjacent, close enough in my book. Besides, the larger point is that even though Zoom work calls are hell, and Zoom election simulations doubly so, if you’re so desperate for release that you need to masturbate in the middle of the workday while taking a break from the election simulation in which you are participating, then there are larger issues at hand. Don’t touch your dick at work!
Anyway, Toobin has been using the time off from both his high-profile jobs to listen, to learn, to think. He put in some hours at a food bank. He’s been in therapy. He’s been working on a book about the Oklahoma City bombings? In other words, he’s doing what famous people do when they make a mistake and get caught for it: reflecting, listening, learning, and then emerging as if nothing ever happened.