Journalist suspended after colleagues saw him masturbating on Zoom call

The New Yorker magazine has suspended a longstanding writer for masturbating during a Zoom call with colleagues.

Jeffrey Toobin says he made an ’embarrassingly stupid mistake’ and claims he did not realise his webcam was on at the time.

He is also taking a leave of absence from CNN, where he works as an on-air legal analyst.

In a statement to Vice Mr Toobin said: ‘I made an embarrassingly stupid mistake, believing I was off-camera. I apologise 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. I apologise to my wife, family, friends and co-workers.’

The call between magazine staffers and public radio station WNYC was reportedly an ‘election simulation’, with a number of big names from the New Yorker playing different politicians and political factions.

Mr Toobin, playing the courts, was reportedly spotted ‘jerking off’ by at least two participants after a 10 minute ‘strategy session’ break was called for the Democrat and Republican teams.

The sources told Vice when they returned, they saw Toobin lower his camera and could see him touching his penis. It is unclear how many people were on the call and who else would have seen this.

They say the writer left the call and re-joined the chat moments later, seemingly unaware of what his colleagues had witnessed.

A New Yorker spokesperson said Mr Toobin, who has been a staff writer for the magazine since 1993, had been suspended pending an investigation.

He has not tweeted since October 13 and his Conde Nast email address has been disabled.

However he did appear on CNN on Saturday before taking a leave of absence on his request.

A spokesperson for the network said yesterday: ‘Jeff Toobin has asked for some time off while he deals with a personal issue, which we have granted.’

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