MSNBC hosts Rachel Maddow and Chris Hayes appeared to share a laugh at the expense of CNN star Jeffrey Toobin.
Vice broke the news that The New Yorker magazine suspended Toobin –who also works at CNN — over an alleged incident that involved nudity during a Zoom call with collegues at the magazine and members of WNYC radio. Vice later reported that two sources said Toobin was seen masturbating on the call.
Maddow began her prime-time handoff by thanking Hayes who had a grin on his face. Mediaite described the “elephant in the room” they chose not to address on-air.
“Good evening, Chris. Thank you, my friend. And thank you for your counsel over the course of today as a workday as to what counted as news that should be on TV,” Maddow said, causing Hayes to break down before she began chuckling herself. “It was such a weird day today.”
“I’m always happy to have those very high-level editorial discussions with you about the most important stories in our world,” Hayes responded with a smirk.
“Let us never speak of this publicly again,” Maddow said before telling her viewers, “It pays to have colleagues who share a sense of both the absurdity of life and the responsibility of what actually should be on television. And it really pays to be able to talk to those colleagues during the course of the day like today!”
Vice reported that the Zoom call, which was described as an “election simulation,” featured Toobin’s New Yorker colleagues including Jane Mayer, Masha Gessen, Andrew Marantz, Jelani Cobb, Evan Osnos, Sue Halpern and Dexter Filkins playing various roles in potential 2020 outcomes including President Trump, Joe Biden, “establishment Republicans,” ‘establishment Democrats,” and “the military.” Toobin was playing “the courts.”
According to two sources, Toobin was seen masturbating in what was supposed to be a 10-minute “strategy session” along party lines, but that it “seemed like Toobin was on a second video call.”
“The sources said that when the groups returned from their breakout rooms, Toobin lowered the camera. The people on the call said they could see Toobin touching his penis. Toobin then left the call. Moments later, he called back in, seemingly unaware of what his colleagues had been able to see, and the simulation continued,” Vice reported.
Vice added an update to its original report, “This piece has been updated with more detail about the call and the headline has been updated to reflect that Toobin was masturbating.”
Prior to the reported masturbation, Toobin, one of CNN’s biggest stars, offered an apology for his “embarrassingly stupid mistake” and attempted to explain what led to the incident.
“I made an embarrassingly stupid mistake, believing I was off-camera. I apologize to my wife, family, friends and co-workers,” Toobin said in a statement to Motherboard. “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.”
A spokesperson confirmed to Fox News, “Jeffrey Toobin has been suspended while we investigate the matter.”
CNN also said in a statement, “Jeff Toobin has asked for some time off while he deals with a personal issue, which we have granted.”
CNN nor WNYC did not previously respond to Fox News’ requests for comment.