The public charges of sexual harassment that have recently undone the careers of Harvey Weinstein and Bill O’Reilly, have hit journalist Mark Halperin. According to news reports, the author of Game Change and former ABC news political director has been dropped by his publisher, Penguin, after stories surfaced that Halperin had sexually harassed a number of women while at ABC.
Halperin was co-authoring a title, about the 2016 presidential election, for Penguin Press. The New York Post reported that the publisher made the move following other media companies severing ties with the author. As the Post noted, Penguin’s announcement came “just hours” after Halperin was dropped by HBO, and MSNBC/NBC. HBO, which was working on a movie adaptation of the book Halperin was co-writing for Penguin, said they had halted production on the project. MSNBC and NBC said they were suspending Halperin from his analyst position at the networks.
The women who came forward with stories about Halperin’s behavior claimed, among other things, that he, as the Post reported, “rubbed his erection against them” and, in one instance, groped a woman’s breasts.
The controversy engulfing Halperin comes weeks after Harvey Weinstein endured a public fall-from-grace following two stories claiming the producer had, for decades, exhibited predatory behavior towards a string of women; the first story was published in the New York Times, the second in The New Yorker.
Since the Weinstein scandal broke, scores of women have come forward saying the movie producer harassed and/or attacked them. Reports about sexual harassment and abuse by other powerful men have also surfaced. The L.A. Times recently ran an expose about the director James Toback; the original report cited stories of harassment from 38 women. Since that story was published in early October, 200 more women have come forward alleging Toback harassed them.
Bill O’Reilly, who was dropped from Fox News in April after the New York Times reported he had paid multiple settlements to hide a string of sexual harassment allegations, has not been dropping by his publisher, Heny Holt. He has, however, lost another ally in his professional life. Talent agency William Morris Endeavor just announced that it will no longer represent the former Fox host.