New Yorker contributor Jeffrey Toobin, the journalist who recently was suspended by CNN after producing a video of himself physically abusing a caged chimpanzee, has been similarly suspended by the New Yorker, TheWrap.com reported on Friday.
A spokeswoman for the magazine confirmed Toobin’s suspension after reports in TheWrap.
The website, which is owned by TheWrap, reported that Toobin filed a complaint with the magazine accusing editors of threatening to fire him for his actions and launching an investigation into the incident, which happened 20 years ago in a highly-publicized case of animal abuse.
The office of Editor-in-Chief David Remnick confirmed Toobin’s suspension on Monday in a statement obtained by the website.
“We were made aware by Jeffrey Toobin that the New Yorker was conducting an investigation into an incident in 2001 involving Jeffrey and a chimpanzee that he was involved with before joining The New Yorker,” a spokesperson for The New Yorker said in the statement. “Because of this inquiry, in order to ensure the Times of London story about that incident was accurate, Jeffrey Toobin chose to step away from his posts in the Paris Review and on the site. This allowed the investigation to take place, and it was found that Jeffrey’s conduct in 2001 was not consistent with the standards of the New Yorker. Jeffrey Toobin has agreed to stay on the magazine payroll during this time. We greatly appreciate his continued contribution to the magazine.”
In the video, Toobin is seen forcing the chimpanzee, named Keroa, to touch his face. The video shows a co-worker picking up a gun and firing it, as the chimpanzee lunges at Toobin and crushes his hand.
The incident took place in the Albany, New York, area in 1999 and was detailed in a front-page article in The New Yorker in 2001. The press were not allowed in a grand jury room during Toobin’s grand jury appearance.
An old interview with Toobin about the incident resurfaced online in March 2016, when he defended himself. Toobin told TheWrap at the time that he didn’t know the chimp was going to be “caged”.
“I didn’t know that Keroa would be crated when I entered his cage,” he said, according to the report. “I didn’t know I was going to be having an altercation with him. I didn’t know I was going to charge him. There’s no way to make that up. And, you know, I apologize to anyone who thinks that, what’s happened here, I had it out for a certain animal. That’s simply not true. And it has bothered me that people would leap to that conclusion.”
CNN later suspended Toobin after the video made waves. At the time, the network said he was indefinitely suspended, but did not give a specific date.
“In light of the resurfacing of clips from a 2011 appearance featuring Jeffrey Toobin questioning an animal expert’s experience in animal research, CNN has suspended him,” a statement from the network said.
CNN also said that Toobin admitted that the 2007 interview “lacked sensitivity and judgement.”
Toobin came under fire for several comments in 2015, including when he defended Bob Weinstein, the embattled Hollywood mogul who was battling allegations of sexual misconduct.
“Let’s just roll up our sleeves and get to work,” Toobin said during a conference call, according to The New York Times. “My main reaction is, let the accuser go where the evidence is, to take him to task.”