Eyebrows were raised across the media industry when Politico reported on Sunday that disgraced political reporter Mark Halperin has a new, anti-Trump book scheduled to come out later this year despite being accused of sexual harassment by several women at the height of the #MeToo movement in 2017.
Among other things, the former ABC News, NBC News and MSNBC political analyst was accused of grabbing a woman’s breasts without consent and pressing his clothed and erect penis against three of his co-workers. Halperin apologized for his behavior and recently went on SiriusXM’s “The Michael Smerconish Program,” where he apologized again for his conduct.
“I'd like to take the opportunity to again apologize to the women that I mistreated, who told their stories, and who were hurt by me," Halperin told Smerconish in April.
Halperin, a former “Morning Joe” mainstay, also said that he "wasn't a perfect person" when he "made these mistakes." But his apology wasn’t enough for victims who are outraged he’s being given a chance to pen a high-profile book.
CNN producer-turned-public relations executive Eleanor McManus was one of the first women to publicly accuse Halperin of harassment. She has since emerged as a vocal leader of the #MeToo movement and co-founded Press Forward, a non-profit that fights for workplace safety.
“[Halperin] leveraged his position as a prominent journalist to prey on women. He has yet to take responsibility for his actions by apologizing to his victims or demonstrating genuine contrition. Giving him a book once again puts him in a position of authority and that is a slap in the face to all the women that he has victimized,” McManus told Fox News.
Giving him a book once again puts him in a position of authority and that is a slap in the face to all the women that he has victimized."
Halperin accuser Emily Miller expressed similar sentiments, telling Fox News it's "shameful and hurtful" for his victims.
“The 75 top Democrats who were interviewed by him put partisan politics before women who had been sexually assaulted,” Miller said. “He has not repented. He hasn’t changed. He hasn’t apologized to the victims. He’s an active danger to young women.”
Halperin’s forthcoming book, “How to Beat Trump: America’s Top Political Strategists on What It Will Take,” features interviews with dozens of Democratic strategists including Jill Alper, David Axelrod, Bob Bauer, James Carville, Tad Devine, Anita Dunn, Karen Dunn, Adrienne Elrod, Jennifer Granholm, Ben LaBolt, Jeff Link, Jim Margolis, Mike McCurry, Mark Mellman, Amanda Renteria, John Sasso, Kathleen Sebelius, Bob Shrum, Ginny Terzano, David Wilhelm and Fox News contributor Donna Brazile, according to Politico.
Brazile tweeted that she condemned Halperin’s actions and stood by his accusers but “chose to be interviewed for this project” knowing that it would upset people, while Axelrod admitted that he didn’t give his participation much thought and expressed regret.
“To those who have asked, I have known Mark Halperin as a reporter for 25 years. He emailed me three questions about the 2020 race for a book he was writing and I replied in a few sentences, without giving enough thought to how my participation would be used or interpreted,” Axelrod wrote. “By answering Halperin’s questions, I did not in any way mean to excuse his past, egregious behavior and, in retrospect, I regret responding at all.”
Halperin was fired as MSNBC's political analyst in October 2017 after several women came forward with accusations of sexual misconduct during his tenure at ABC News in the 1990s and early 2000s. He also parted ways with his Showtime political docuseries "The Circus," and his publisher canned a planned book he was going to write about the 2016 election cycle.
Press Forward issued a statement about Halperin's latest project and dozens of media industry insiders chimed in on Twitter, with many slamming the people who were willing to participate.
“I do not in any way, shape, or form condone any harm done by one human being to another. I have also lived long enough to believe in the power of forgiveness, second chances, and offering a human being a path to redemption," Halperin's publisher Judith Regan, told Politico. "‘How to Beat Trump’ is an important, thoughtful book, and I hope everyone has a chance to read it.”
Fox News’ Mariah Hass, Frank Miles and the Associated Press contributed to this report.