Jeffrey Toobin's Return to CNN After Zoom Video Branded 'Definition of Liberal Privilege'

CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin returned to the network on Thursday seven months after being placed on leave for exposing himself during a Zoom call with fellow staffers at The New Yorker last year.

In the aftermath of the incident, Jeffrey Toobin was fired by The New Yorker after working for the publication for 27 years, a decision which he described as "heartbreaking".

Having temporarily parted ways with Toobin in October last year, CNN confirmed on Thursday that it had reinstated him as its chief legal analyst and Toobin discussed the incident during an interview with Alisyn Camerota on CNN Newsroom.

The network's decision to reinstate Toobin was lambasted on social media by several journalists and political figures, mostly within the conservative sphere.

"Jeffrey Toobin is the definition of liberal privilege," tweeted Fox News radio host Lisa Boothe.

"Any conservative man would have lost their job. So gross."

Jeffrey Toobin is the definition of liberal privilege. Any conservative man would have lost their job. So gross.

— Lisa Boothe (@LisaMarieBoothe) June 11, 2021

Megyn Kelly, meanwhile, argued that Toobin had been allowed back simply by virtue of being a man.

"There is not a woman alive who could have done anything close to what Jeffrey Toobin did (not that one would) and kept her job," the former Fox News and NBC talk show host tweeted.

"What a disgusting, incestuous boys' club. So damned tired of it."

There is not a woman alive who could have done anything close to what Jeffrey Toobin did (not that one would) and kept her job. What a disgusting,
incestuous boys’ club. So damned tired of it.

— Megyn Kelly (@megynkelly) June 10, 2021

Washington Times columnist Tim Young suggested by allowing Toobin back on air, CNN undermined its support of Me Too, the social movement against sexual abuse and sexual harassment that became a worldwide phenomenon following the exposure of sexual-abuse allegations against movie mogul Harvey Weinstein.

"Jeffrey Toobin is back on CNN in case you're wondering whether or not #MeToo is dead," he tweeted.

Jeffrey Toobin is back on CNN... in case you're wondering whether or not #MeToo is dead.

— Tim Young (@TimRunsHisMouth) June 10, 2021

In a follow up tweet, Young asked Camerota whether she felt she had "sold out women who have been sexually assaulted" by interviewing Toobin.

"Maybe the reason CNN didn't cover Hunter Biden using the N word was because they were all at Jeffrey Toobin's welcome back party on Zoom," tweeted Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary under President Donald Trump.

Others, meanwhile, pointed out that CNN could have turned to other legal analysts instead of reinstating Toobin.

Glad CNN has brought back Zoom masturbator and legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin, the only legal analyst out there.

— Cody Johnston (@drmistercody) June 10, 2021

CNN couldn’t find any other legal analyst but Jeffrey Toobin to come on their network.

Hard times at CNN. https://t.co/VcY1cfhPTC

— BDW (@BryanDeanWright) June 10, 2021

Toobin issued an apology after the incident, suggesting he thought he would not be visible to his former co-workers.

"I made an embarrassingly stupid mistake, believing I was off-camera. I apologize to my wife, family, friends and co-workers," he said at the time.

"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."

On Thursday, Camerota and Toobin again discussed his embarrassing faux pas.

"I feel like we should address what's happened in the months since we've seen you," she said.

"To quote Jay Leno, 'What the hell were you thinking?' "

Toobin replied: "Well obviously I wasn't thinking very well or very much. I thought that I had turned off the Zoom call. Now, that's not a defense. This was deeply moronic and indefensible, but that is part of the story."

He then acknowledged he faced an uphill battle to regain trust and that he had been "miserable" over the last seven months.

"In therapy, trying to do some public service, working in a food bank [...] I am trying to become the kind of person that people can trust again," he said.

"I've got a lot to rebuild. But I feel very privileged and lucky that I'm going to be able to try and do that."

Jeffrey Toobin
Jeffrey Toobin during an interview with former United States Attorney General Eric Holder on May 30, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. Toobin returned to CNN after a seven-month hiatus on Thursday. Paul Marotta/Getty Images