Eighteen months after being accused of sexual harassment and assault by nine women, Game Change author Mark Halperin thinks its probably time we all start letting him be famous again.
Many former colleagues have accused Halperin of unwanted sexual advances, which Halperin acknowledged at the time as pursuing “relationships with women that I worked with, including some junior to me,” adding “I now understand from these accounts that my behavior was inappropriate and caused others pain.”
After the allegations surfaced, Halperin lost his commentator jobs with MSNBC, NBC, and Showtime, as well as a deal to adapt Game Change into an HBO miniseries. Now he’s in the beginning throes of a comeback, aided by tentative nods in the direction of support from powerful friends like MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski. The process is straight from a playbook offering step-by-step instructions on the ways men accused of awful behavior can attempt to rehab their images without addressing the behaviors that caused those image problems.
According to The Washinton Post, Halperin has begun tweeting again, started a blog where he resumes political commentary, and appeared on CNN contributor Michael Smerconish’s Sirius XM radio show three times in the past month. The Daily Beast offers more detail into the picture of a man trying to gauge whether the shitstorm has died down:
“Halperin called the top editor at The Hill, the Washington-based political newspaper, to ask about job prospects, but was told there were no openings; Halperin was spotted having lunch in December with TiVo Chief Executive Tom Rogers at Manhattan’s media-centric Michael’s Restaurant, and, earlier last year, dining at the Washington political watering hole Charlie Palmer’s with senior presidential adviser Kellyanne Conway.”
Despite saying they would report on the situation impartially, friends Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski seem to have been testing the waters for him for a long time. In 2017, Brzezinski urged accusers to listen to Halperin’s side of the story in a face-to-face meeting, and The Daily Beast reports that the pair also had plans to bring him back for an online analysis of the 2018 midterms, an idea that was eventually scrapped.
Many of Halperin’s accusers have noted how easily many in the industry are willing to accept him back into the fold, as the Post article notes:
Attorney Dianna Goldberg May, who was the first of Halperin’s former colleagues to publicly accuse him, said, “It troubles me that he is more concerned with rehabilitating his career than demonstrating any semblance of understanding the gravity of the harm he caused so many women. And the fact that his friends in broadcast are enabling this effort is appalling. Mark is asking for a seat at a table in a profession where credibility and integrity are everything, now more than ever. I’m not convinced he has earned the right to occupy such a venerable position.”
Now that the initial period of waiting it out seems to have ended, it is likely that the man accused of rubbing his fully-clothed but erect penis against co-workers in a place of business will most likely be given his seat back just as soon has he completes the second step: appearing adequately but vaguely remorseful.
And he seems to have moved into phase two full force. On Smerconish’s show, he alluded to the allegations by saying, “I wasn’t a perfect person when I made these mistakes. I’m not a perfect person now. I’m happy to be judged by perfect people” while also insisting that he’s now talked to “hundreds” of women about why his behaviors were a problem:
“I’d like to take the opportunity to again apologize to the women that I mistreated, who told their stories, and who were hurt by me,” Halperin told Smerconish before launching into a heartwarming account of his volunteer work with former prisoners at the Fortune Society, a convict rehabilitation nonprofit, and a pundit-like analysis of Sen. Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign.
“Were hurt by me.” Always the passive voice. Anyway, look for Halperin’s next best-seller in a bookstore near you in about two years or wait for the HBO series that will begin production as soon as executives have decided enough time has elapsed to plausibly explain that men who say they are sorry deserve second chances.