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Ex-CNN pundit rips network for interview on Toobin masturbation scandal: 'Sexual harassment in and of itself'

Ex-CNN commentator Mary Katharine Ham called out her former network Thursday for having anchor Alisyn Camerota interview Jeffrey Toobin about his masturbation scandal, saying it was an example of “sexual harassment.” 

During her guest appearance on the “Ruthless” podcast, Ham discussed the Toobin scandal, which involved the former CNN legal analyst getting caught masturbating during a New Yorker Zoom call back in 2020. He was fired by The New Yorker but, although he was initially removed from air after the incident, Toobin eventually returned to CNN eight months later in 2021.

The decision for Toobin to return to the network caused intense online backlash and Ham took issue with Toobin’s follow-up interview with Camerota, where he was allowed to defend his actions. 

Mary Katharine Ham on "Ruthless" podcast

Mary Katharine Ham appeared on the “Ruthless” podcast and discussed Jeffrey Toobin. ("Ruthless" podcast)

Camerota had the awkward role of describing what happened and asking questions about it for Toobin’s return interview.

“Because I’m a flawed human being who makes mistakes, and you know, there is no defense for my conduct,” he said. “The only issue is what should be the consequences, and the ‘New Yorker’ made one decision about the consequences. CNN made a different decision, fortunately, for which I’m very grateful, but I am not going to come up here and, you know, split hairs and try to come up with justifications or explanations. It was wrong. It was stupid. And I’m trying to be a better person.”

Ham joked on the podcast, “I just wanted a similar exit interview.”

Mary Katharine Ham

Mary Katharine Ham was suspended from CNN in 2022. (Photo by Jenny Anderson/ABC via Getty Images)

In an October 2022 Substack post, Ham revealed that she had been “quiet suspended” from the network in January 2022 after commenting on the Toobin scandal in a Twitter back and forth with CNN reporter Andrew Kaczynski over her comments on coverage of the Congressional baseball shooting.

CNN Jeffrey Toobin

Jeffrey Toobin came under fire in 2020 after being caught masturbating during a Zoom call with colleagues.  (Getty Images)

Ham brought up the suspension on the podcast.

“I commented on it at one point and my old boss, Jeff Zucker, didn’t like that at all,” she said.

She also joked about the contrast in her treatment compared to Toobin, who left the network in August 2022. 

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