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CNN's Brian Stelter complains Jeffrey Toobin has been 'sidelined at a pivotal moment' in election. Social media takes him to the woodshed.


Disturbing on so many levels

Photo by Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic

CNN host Brian Stelter says that legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin has been "sidelined" at an important juncture in the 2020 presidential election after he was reportedly caught masturbating during a work-related video conference.

Toobin, CNN chief legal analyst and reporter for the New Yorker, was suspended from the New Yorker and announced a leave from CNN following the lurid allegation.

What are the details?

Stelter, in a Tuesday tweet, appeared to intimate that it was somehow unfair that Toobin was taken out of the game following the allegation.

Toobin on Monday issued an apology for the behavior, saying that he believed his end of the video conference was muted with its video off.

He said, "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."

In his tweet, Stelter wrote, "Jeffrey Toobin has been sidelined at a pivotal moment in the run-up to the presidential election. The reason: He exposed himself during a Zoom call with New Yorker colleagues in what he says was an accident."

'Framing is incredibly problematic'

Needless to say, social media didn't take too kindly to Stelter's tweet.

One user fired back, "'[S]idelined' by sexual assault. Cause that's what this was. No one consented to this. Masturbating DURING a videoconference isn't an accident—it is full on sexual assault."

"The 'full story' is that he was jerking off during the meeting, so this framing is odd," podcaster Cody Johnston added. "'During a pivotal moment in the run-up to the presidential election' is irrelevant and reads like you think he shouldn't be sidelined. Get it together, man."

Journalist Molly McCluskey wrote, "The framing of this is incredibly problematic. Toobin has not 'been sidelined' for 'an accident.' He has been suspended for subjecting his colleagues to sexual misconduct. He is not a victim. This is not something that has been done to him."

Another user added, "'[S]idelined'? sounds like he got what was coming to him. this is sickening male behavior."

"He accidentally sexually harassed his coworkers?" yet another user responded.

Another user wrote, "What an absolutely atrocious presentation of what happened. Unbelievable. He was caught masturbating in a Zoom meeting. It was his choice to act in that atrocious manner. He's no necessity for election coverage. Get your damn priorities straight and stop defending bad behavior."

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