Mark Halperin, a political journalist who has long made his career off tracking the rise and fall of U.S. politicians, is experiencing a fall of his own. Five women have come forward to accuse him of sexually harassing them while he was employed at ABC News, reported CNN.
In addition to the five women, several others have come forward to say they were aware of the harassment. Those women are sharing their stories with CNN.
In a statement given to CNN Wednesday night, Halperin didn’t deny the allegations. He did, however, try to explain his actions.
"During this period, I did pursue relationships with women that I worked with, including some junior to me,” admitted Halperin. "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."
MSNBC, the network where Halperin makes frequent appearances on "Morning Joe," announced that he would no longer fill roles at the network. They also announced that he’ll no longer work as an analyst at NBC News.
"We find the story and the allegations very troubling," said MSNBC in a statement. "Mark Halperin is leaving his role as a contributor until the questions around his past conduct are fully understood."
This casts a cloud over Halperin’s unquestionably prestigious career. CNN says he was “widely considered to be one of the preeminent political journalists.” Throughout his career, the 52-year-old has been political director at ABC New; co-authored the bestselling book "Game Change," which was made into an HBO movie starring Julianne Moore as Sarah Palin; and anchored a television show on Bloomberg TV.
He was also featured in Showtime's "The Circus," a show that recorded the 2016 campaign cycle and the early days of the Trump presidency. In addition, he has a project in development with HBO.
But What the women who talked to CNN call his “dark side” decreases his achievements. In a series of stories that are too sordid to recount here, women described how he harassed and propositioned them.
While the women who spoke to CNN said they did not report directly to Halperin, they said he still had power over their careers. However, “Halperin made many decisions about political coverage at ABC News, and had a voice in some critical personnel decisions,” explained CNN.
Even after he left ABC, the women he harassed still felt his power over their lives. He held wide influence over politics and media.
“The women who spoke to CNN said that they did not report Halperin's behavior to management either because they feared retribution, given the level of power Halperin had at ABC and in the industry, or because they were embarrassed. In some cases, their fear of him and the sway he holds remains to this day,” explained CNN.
One young woman recounted how he harassed her very early in her career. She says that since she was so young, she didn’t know if his actions were “the sort of thing that was expected of you if you wanted something from a male figure in news.”
If you would like to know more details about the alleged harassments, CNN has an account in their article. However, Faith Family America has chosen not to print them.
CNN said their investigation revealed that Halperin allegedly exhibited this type of behavior from the 1990s to the mid-2000s. They did not turn up allegations after he left ABC News.
"For the last 11 years, I have had to watch this guy find success in every other news organization," said one of the women who Halperin harassed.
The allegations against Halperin come weeks after women began coming out to accuse Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment and assault. Since then, women have come out against public figures in droves. This seems to indicate the systemic nature of abuse in Hollywood.
“Women—and men—are talking about things that have long been rumored but have never been brought to light. Some people are feeling emboldened to tell those stories now. Others are looking back and regretting the things they didn't do,” said the article.
One person who spoke to CNN said they were aware of the abuse, but not the extent. They didn’t feel like they’d heard enough to report him. However, now they regret their decision.
"In retrospect, I was such a coward," the person said. "I wish I said something. I wish I had done something."
In other news, an actress came forward earlier this week to accuse former President Bush of sexual assault.