NBC News severs ties with Mark Halperin over sexual harassment accusations

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NBC News terminated its contract with senior political analyst Mark Halperin following allegations that he sexually harassed a dozen women during his tenure at ABC News.

An NBC News spokesperson confirmed the termination Monday shortly before Eleanor McManus, one of Halperin’s accusers, appeared on the network’s “Megyn Kelly Today.”

Halperin has been off the air since the late Wednesday report on CNN that women who worked at ABC News claimed they had been subjected to harassment, inappropriate physical contact or sexual assault by Halperin while he was political director from 1997 to 2007. A second report on Friday had detailed accounts from a total of a dozen women.

McManus, a forrmer CNN producer, appeared on “Megyn Kelly Today” on Monday to talk about one of the alleged incidents that occurred in the late 1990s.

McManus said Halperin “tried to kiss me and attempted to do a bit more” at the end of a meeting in his office at ABC News to talk about career advice. She was a Brandeis University student at the time when she met Halperin at a political event and he invited her to his office.

“There are women that this happened to who did not pursue their career in journalism because of this incident,” said McManus, who went on to become a producer on CNN’s “Larry King Live.”

Halperin has issued an apology for his behavior at ABC, although he denies he has ever committed sexual assault or masturbated in front of any of them, as one report said. “I have recognized conduct for which I feel profound guilt and responsibility, some involving junior ABC News personnel and women just starting out in the business,” he said in a statement.

With the end of his NBC deal, the accusations have decimated Haperin’s thriving career as a high-profile journalist covering national politics.

HBO backed out of a deal to make a miniseries of his next “Game Change” book on the 2016 presidential campaign.

The publication of the book, part of a successful franchise built by Halperin and co-author John Heilemann, was canceled by Penguin Press.

Showtime said Saturday that Halperin will not be a part of the second season of the political documentary series “The Circus.” Halperin and Heilemann produce and star in the series. The CBS-owned premium cable network is evaluating its decision to pick up a third season of the program.

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stephen.battaglio@latimes.com

Twitter: @SteveBattaglio





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