Political journalist Mark Halperin out of MSNBC after five women say he sexually harassed them

A photo of Halperin and son James posted on social media.
A photo of Halperin and son James posted on social media.PHOTO: INSTAGRAM

NEW YORK (NYTIMES) - Political journalist Mark Halperin built an industry on tracking the fortunes of the flawed characters he followed through campaign seasons. He gleefully chronicled who was up and who was down in his best-selling books and television coverage and made himself into one of the most prominent and most highly remunerated journalists in the country.

The drama and intrigue came to him on Wednesday night, when CNN posted a detailed report that he had sexually harassed women years ago, when he worked as the director of political coverage at ABC News.

The CNN report included interviews with five women it did not identify who said that Halperin had made unwanted sexual advances against them.

On Thursday morning, MSNBC, the cable network where he is a political analyst and appears frequently on the influential show Morning Joe, announced that he would no longer be a contributor.

In a statement, an MSNBC spokesman said, "We find the story and the allegations very troubling. Mark Halperin is leaving his role as a contributor until the questions around his past conduct are fully understood."

Through a spokesman, Halperin, issued the following statement: "During this period, I did pursue relationships with women that I worked with, including some junior to me. I now understand from these accounts that my behavior was inappropriate and caused others pain. For that, I am deeply sorry and I apologise.

"Under the circumstances, I'm going to take a step back from my day-to-day work while I properly deal with this situation."

An ABC spokesman said, "Mark left ABC News over a decade ago, and no complaints were filed during his tenure."

On Thursday morning, Emily Miller, a journalist who once worked at ABC - after noting on Twitter that she was not one of the women interviewed by CNN about Halperin's behaviour - posted the following message: "I did not report Halperin to ABC because I thought I was the only one, and I blamed myself, and I was embarrassed and I was scared of him."

Halperin's planned book about the 2016 election, which will be written with his longtime co-author, John Heilemann, is set to be made into an HBO original movie.

Representatives for HBO; Showtime, where Halperin is a host of a documentary series; and his book publisher, Penguin Press, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.