In the wake of former ABC News political director Mark Halperin being accused of sexual harassment by at least five women during his tenure at the network, Morning Joe addressed the scandal on Friday morning. Currently, Halperin serves as an NBC News political analyst and a frequent panelist on MSNBC including Morning Joe, and as the news had been breaking, the subject had previously only been briefly mentioned on Thursday’s show. This time, Mika Brzezinski addressed the allegations about their “friend” Halperin head on.
Starting off the show, Brzezinski stated, “Over the past 24 hours, there have been more disturbing reports regarding Mark Halperin’s treatment of younger, female coworkers. Behavior in these reports allegedly occurred one to two decades ago, and now, we’re looking at it, we’re talking about it. Mark and Karen [Avrich, Halperin’s wife] have been a part of Morning Joe‘s extended family for years; they’re our friends. And we believe it’s important to stand with our friends, through even the most difficult of times.”
But it’s even more important to demand the truth,” Brzezinski continued. “Even when the fact appear to be extremely painful. Yesterday morning we woke up to reports of unnamed sources telling CNN that Mark made unwanted sexual advances and overtures towards them. A day later, more revelations, pointing to a possible pattern of unacceptable conduct. I’ve spoken to, and heard from some of these women. I feel their pain, and I understand the difficult position they were in, because I’ve been through enough in this business to know what I hear.”
“We are at a pivotal moment in history where unacceptable harassing behavior towards women will no longer be swept under the rug and yes, we do remain a nation of laws where everyone is considered innocent until proven guilty, and nothing has been proven of judicated here, but, we’re also witnessing a larger movement of women speaking up about sexual harassment because the fear of being dismissed is melting away.”
“I’ll speak for both Joe and myself here, our hearts break for Mark and his family because he is our friend, but we fully support NBC’s decision here,” she said, of NBC’s decision to fire Halperin. Concluding her statement, Brzezinski promised that going forward, the Morning Joe team will not avoid covering the story just because he is their friend.