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Another US media figure gets caught in sexual abuse scandal, apologizes

Veteran US journalist Mark Halperin admits to sexual harassment of female co-workers. (File photo)

Yet another veteran US media figure has been accused by multiple female colleagues of sexual harassment over the years, prompting him to issue a public apology for the “pain and anguish” he inflicted on his victims.

“I apologize sincerely to the women that I mistreated,” wrote political journalist Mark Halperin in a Twitter post on Saturday, admitting to his “aggressive and crude conduct” during the time he worked for the nationally-broadcast ABC News and MSNBC as well as Bloomberg Television.

“The world is now publicly acknowledging what so many women have long known: Men harm women in the workplace. That new awareness is, of course, a positive development. For a long time at ABC News, I was part of the problem,” wrote the 52-year-old Halperin.

He claimed, however, that his “inappropriate” behavior merely took place during his tenure as a political director at ABC News between 1997 and 2007.

“Toward the end of my time at ABC News, I recognized that I had a problem,” he admitted, adding: “No one had sued me, no one had filed a human resources complaint against me, no colleague had confronted me. But I didn’t need a call from HR (Human Resources) to know that I was a selfish, immature person, who was behaving in a manner that had to stop.”

The development came less than a month after charges of sexual harassment and assault against major Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein made news headlines across the US as well as reports last week that Fox News’s hawkish host Bill O’Reilly paid a whopping $32 million to a former co-worker to settle a sexual harassment complaint. He had also paid millions of dollars more to multiple other female victims to keep them from going public with their sexual abuse complaints against him.

Halperin, however, insisted that his sexual abuse did not continue after he left ABC News, saying: “Those who have worked with me in the past decade know that my conduct in subsequent jobs at Time, Bloomberg, NBC News and Showtime has not been what it was at ABC. I did not engage in improper behavior with colleagues or subordinates.”

According to local press reports on Wednesday, five women accused Halperin of sexual harassment, with accusations including “propositioning employees for sex, kissing," and other sexual advances without consent.

The scandal has reportedly ended Halperin's career. MSNBC’s Morning Joe news show, on which he was a regular contributor, announced that they were suspending cooperation “until the questions around his past conduct are fully understood.”

Cable broadcaster HBO has also abandoned the TV adaptation of his “Game Change” bestseller book, which Halperin co-authored with John Heilemann, saying that it “has no tolerance for sexual harassment within the company or its productions.”

Additionally, Penguin Press announced that it will not publish Halperin’s new book on the 2016 US presidential election, which he also authored jointly with Heilemann.

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