NBC News senior political analyst Mark Halperin has been suspended by the network after several women accused him of sexual harassment.
“We find the story and the allegations very troubling,” NBC said in a statement to CNN on Thursday, October 26. “Mark Halperin is leaving his role as a contributor until the questions around his past conduct are fully understood.”
Hours before the news of his suspension, five women claimed to CNN that Halperin, 52, sexually harassed them while he was the political director at ABC News in the early 2000s. The women, who asked to remain anonymous, shared a series of damning stories about the journalist, claiming that he propositioned employees for sex, kissed and grabbed one woman’s breast against her will and pressed an erection against three of the women’s bodies without consent.
The women told the outlet that they did not report the alleged encounters until now because they feared retribution or were embarrassed about what happened. Halperin has denied the allegations.
“During this period, I did pursue relationships with women that I worked with, including some junior to me,” he said in a statement to CNN on Wednesday, October 25. “I now understand from these accounts that my behavior was inappropriate and caused others pain. For that, I am deeply sorry and I apologize. Under the circumstances, I’m going to take a step back from my day-to-day work while I properly deal with this situation.”
ABC News added that Halperin left the network more than a decade ago, and “no complaints were filed during his tenure.”
The Game Change author worked at ABC News from the late 1980s to 2007. He later worked for Time magazine and Bloomberg before joining NBC News and MSNBC. On Thursday’s episode of Morning Joe, cohost Mika Brzezinski addressed the absence of show regular Halperin, calling him “our friend” and assuring viewers that the network would continue to follow the story “as it develops.”