MSNBC political analyst Mark Halperin has been dismissed from the network after five women came forward to accuse him of sexual harassment.
"During this period, I did pursue relationships with women that I worked with, including some junior to me", Halperin said in a statement to CNN Wednesday night.
CNN worldwide correspondent Clarissa Ward, who also used to work at ABC, tweeted that Halperin's behavior was "an open secret" at the network. The political commentator is now an analyst for NBC News and Bloomberg Television, makes appearances on MSNBC's Morning Joe segment, and is now developing a project with HBO. The women who spoke to CNN said it was for this reason that they shared their accounts on the condition of anonymity.
"We find the story and the allegations very troubling", an MSNBC spokesperson told the Washington Free Beacon in a statement.
Halperin is accused of using his position of power at ABC News to pressure women for sex, kissing them against their will, touching them inappropriately and groping one woman's breasts.
A fifth woman alleged Halperin was clothed when he placed his erect penis against her body without her consent.
CNN did not report whether any of the accusers will be filing legal suits against Halperin.
"According to one of the women, "[Halperin] would say, 'Why don't you meet me upstairs?' And I would say, 'That's not a good idea.' And he would push the request further. "Under the circumstances, I'm going to take a step back from my day-to-day work while I properly deal with this situation", he added. "Eventually I would just ignore him and go about my business".
Halperin denied to CNN that he grabbed a woman's breast and pressed his genitals against others.
Halperin co-hosted a political analysis show on Bloomberg TV, and produced and was featured in Showtime's The Circus: Inside the Greatest Political Show on Earth, which followed presidential candidates during their 2016 election campaigns. I'm sure we will be talking about it again when we know more about it.