One day after five woman accused veteran journalist and political analyst Mark Halperin of continued sexual harassment, a former CNN producer told her story of a similar interaction with him from over a decade ago.
Eleanor McManus, who worked for CNN for about 10 years as a producer, wrote a guest column for the network describing her encounter with Halperin. She said that she was in college when she first met Halperin, and it took just one meeting for him to attempt to sexually escalate things.
Halperin has since been fired by a majority of the networks he worked and contributed for, and released a statement acknowledging and apologizing for the misconduct.
“During this period, I did pursue relationships with women that I worked with, including some junior to me,” Halperin wrote in a statement to CNN. “I now understand from these accounts that my behavior was inappropriate and caused others pain. For that, I am deeply sorry and I apologize. Under the circumstances, I’m going to take a step back from my day-to-day work while I properly deal with this situation.”
McManus is married and currently works at a public relations firm that she founded.
Here’s what you need to know about McManus:
1. McManus Accused Halperin of Trying to Kiss Her During a Meeting
CNN welcomed McManus to write a guest column following the sexual harassment allegations against Halperin. In it, she wrote that she met Halperin, who was working for ABC News at the time, at a campaign event while she was a college student aspiring to be a journalist. She said that he gave her his contact information and encouraged her to stay in touch.
After she graduated from college, she arranged a meeting with Halperin to speak about her career path. As she entered Halperin’s office, McManus said she was prompted to sit on a couch, which seemed like an odd request, she said. Suddenly, things took an uncomfortable twist.
“I stood up to thank him for the meeting, that’s when he leaned in, tried to kiss me, and attempted to do a bit more,” she wrote. “I didn’t want to offend the man in charge of political programming at ABC News, and I tried to be courteous and apologetic, and practically ran out of the office.”
McManus said that at first, she wasn’t upset by his actions and instead thought it was something she did that led him on. She said she told the story to “several people” simply because it irritated her that he’d been getting away with the behavior for so long.
When CNN reported that five women accused Halperin of sexual harassment, she felt prompted to tell her story.
I’m telling my story publicly now because I hope that when this happens again to another young woman, and it will, she will not be so courteous and apologetic. I’m hoping women today will finally speak out in real-time — when this behavior happens. Women cannot stay silent for fear it will damage their careers, because that only allows the aggressor to continue his behavior with other women.
2. McManus Worked at CNN From 2000 Until 2010
McManus studied at Brandeis University and received her bachelor’s degree in economics and sociology in 1999.
According to her LinkedIn profile, McManus started working at CNN in January 2000 as a production assistant. She worked her way up and soon enough became a senior producer on Larry King Live, where she was responsible for booking and producing politics and news guests for segments.
“I had the most amazing opportunities to work incredible news stories, and even met my husband at CNN,” she wrote in her column. “I loved everything about TV news — the excitement, the ability to be part of breaking a story, the adrenaline, and the camaraderie of the entire news team.”
During her time on the show, she was involved in covering the September 11, 2011 attacks, Hurricane Katrina, the 2004 and 2008 presidential elections, unrest in the Middle East and much more. She won an Emmy and Edward R. Murrow awards in 2001 for her role in the network’s September 11 coverage. She also received the 2005 DuPont award for coverage of the tsunami disaster in South Asia.
While she worked at CNN, she attended graduate school at American University and earned her master’s degree communication, journalism and public affairs in 2002.
3. McManus Was a Partner at a PR Firm With the Former RNC Chairman
After working for CNN, McManus left to become a partner at Davis-Block LLC., a public relations firm where she helped to “leverage unique and extensive bipartisan networks to provide clients with consulting and communication services in media engagement,” her LinkedIn said. The firm was founded by lobbyist Lanny Davis and former Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele, POLITICO reported.
McManus continued her work with Davis and Steele and founded Purple Nation Solutions, based in Washington D.C. She worked as a senior vice president at the company before it was purchased by LEVICK in March 2014 after two years in the industry.
“We’re proudly developing a lobbying approach that focuses on purple, bipartisan solutions — not just knocking on doors and talking to Democrats if you’re a Democrat, or Republicans if you’re a Republican,” Davis told POLITICO.
Following the acquisition, McManus worked as a senior vice president at LEVICK for two years, where she counseled clients on corporate communications, litigation communications, crisis management and more. Following her work there, she founded Trident DMG, a PR firm. According to her biography on the firm’s website, she’s fluent in Russian and Spanish.
4. She Got Married in 2005 in New Jersey to a Former CNN Reporter
McManus’ maiden name is “Spektor,” and she got married to Michael Patrick McManus at Knoll Country Club in Parsippany, New Jersey in September 2005, a wedding announcement published in The New York Times said. The ceremony was Roman Catholic, with Rev. Al Barozzi as the officiant. She was 28-years old when she got married while her husband was 33.
Michael is a graduate of Marymount University in Arlington, Virginia. His father worked in corporate communications for the financial division of the John Hancock Mutual Life in Boston.
Michael previously worked as an on-camera reporter for CNN, which is where he met Eleanor. According to his biography on CNN, Michael has four sisters and enjoys golfing and skiing in his spare time.
5. Her Father Worked as an Anesthesiologist & Her Mother Was in Real Estate
Eleanor is the daughter of Dr. Joseph and Luba Spektor, who live in Woodcliff, New Jersey. Her father worked as an anesthesiologist specialist at Long Island Surgical Center. Her mother worked as a real estate broker at Coldwell Banker in Ramsey, New Jersey.