Five women have come forward to accuse MSNBC contributor Mark Halperin of sexual harassment.
During his time at ABC News in the ’90s and mid ’00s, the best selling author allegedly propositioned employees for sex, forcibly kissed another and grabbed her breast, and pressed his genitals against three of the women.
The women spoke anonymously to CNN about details of the harassment, which Mark has since apologized for on Wednesday.
He shared in a statement:
“During this period, I did pursue relationships with women that I worked with, including some junior to me. 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.”
The 52-year-old denies grabbing anyone’s breasts or pressing his genitals against the three females.
On Thursday, MSNBC released their statement on the allegations, announcing the Morning Joe contributor has been suspended:
“We find the story and the allegations very troubling. Mark Halperin is leaving his role as a contributor until the questions around his past conduct are fully understood.”
A source told TheWrap it’s likely Mark will never be back on Morning Joe.
As for the accuser’s accounts of the alleged sexual harassment, one told CNN:
“I went up to have a soda and talk and — he just kissed me and grabbed my boobs. I just froze. I didn’t know what to do.”
She says she told a mentor in the office, who said he wanted to take it to management.
There’s no word on whether that actually happened.
Another shared she approached Mark about getting a new assignment:
“The first meeting I ever had with him was in his office and he just came up from behind — I was sitting in a chair from across his desk — and he came up behind me and [while he was clothed] he pressed his body on mine, his penis, on my shoulder. I was obviously completely shocked. I can’t even remember how I got out of there — [but] I got out of there and was freaked out by that whole experience. Given I was so young and new I wasn’t sure if that was the sort of thing that was expected of you if you wanted something from a male figure in news.”
The unidentified woman said he continued to make unwanted advances:
“It was more like him coming up too close to me and sort of along the lines of hugging me.”
And propositioned her for sex:
“He would say, ‘Why don’t you meet me upstairs?’ And I would say, ‘That’s not a good idea.’ And he would push the request further. Eventually I would just ignore him and go about my business.”
A third accuser shared a similar incident about being propositioned while on the road with him:
“I excused myself to go to the bathroom and he was standing there when I opened the door propositioning [me] to go into the other bathroom to do something. It freaked me out. I came out of the ladies’ room and he was just standing there. Like almost blocking the door.”
Another claimed Mark asked her to go up to his hotel with room, which she declined.
And the fifth, who was the only one who wasn’t an ABC News employee at the time, alleged without her consent he placed his erect penis against her body while clothed.
For various reasons, the women didn’t report Halperin to management.
But it’s said there were whispers of it, as one person who used to work with the TV personality shared:
“In retrospect, I was such a coward. I wish I said something. I wish I had done something.”
ABC News responded to the allegations, saying:
“Mark left ABC News over a decade ago, and no complaints were filed during his tenure.”
We have a feeling this won’t be the last we hear about the allegations.
[Image via FayesVision/WENN.]