Veteran journalist and author Mark Halperin has been accused of sexual harassment by at least five women. The women came forward to CNN’s Oliver Darcy, and he published their allegations in an October 25 article.
Darcy wrote that others didn’t directly experience the sexual harassment, “but were aware of it.” One of the allegations said that Halperin kissed a woman and “grabbed (her) boobs,” and another said that he once “pressed his penis on her shoulder” during the 2004 presidential campaign cycle.
“I was obviously completely shocked,” one woman said. “Given I was so young and new I wasn’t sure if that was the sort of thing that was expected of you if you wanted something from a male figure in news.”
Halperin released a statement regarding the allegations, admitting to past relationships and apologizing.
“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.”
Halperin has worked as an author and senior political analyst for MSNBC and Bloomberg Television. He’s also the former co-managing editor of Bloomberg Politics.
Halperin’s published several political books and was suspended by MSNBC for a month in 2011 for saying President Barack Obama came off as “kind of a dick” during a press conference the day before. He’s drawn criticism by some over the years, and especially recently, for his sometimes “favorable” coverage of President Donald Trump. He’s since been fired by MSNBC following the sexual harassment allegations.
Halperin has been dating girlfriend Karen Avrich for 15 years, and the couple have one child together. Avrich is a writer and editor known primarily for a book regarding “the first terrorist act” in America.
Here’s what you need to know about Avrich:
1. Halperin & Avrich Have Been Dating Since 2002 & Have a Son Together
It’s unclear exactly how Halperin and Avrich met, but they’ve reportedly been together since at least 2002. While they’re not married, the couple have one child together, a boy they welcomed to the world earlier this year.
Halperin’s Instagram account features many pictures of the couple together with their son. Reports say that the family resides in the Upper West Side of New York City near Central Park, where they both work.
2. Avrich is the Daughter of a Famous Historian
Karen is one of two daughters born to Paul and Ina Avrich. Paul was a historian known primarily for his work on the early 20th century anarchist movement in Russia and the United States. He taught at Queens College for his entire career as a historian, starting in 1961 and doing so until 1999.
Karen wrote that her father went to college at 16-years old and became fluent in “a half-dozen languages and conversant in a half-dozen more.” She said that he spent time trying to crack Soviet Codes as an Air Force officer stationed in Germany prior to his historian work.
Paul wrote 10 books that mostly talked about anarchism. Through some of his research, he collected historic papers from prominent figures in the anarchist movement and donated 20,000 of them to the Library of Congress.
Paul became gravely ill during the 1990s and struggled from then on to regain his health.
“He tired easily, and the vivid, fluid lectures that had poured from him, mesmerizing and note-free, were now scripted and recited,” Karen wrote in a New York Times op-ed. “His languages deserted him. Most painful for him, the realization that his book about Sasha and Emma, despite years of planning, would go unfinished.”
After a long battle with Alzheimer’s Disease, Paul died at the age of 74 on February 16, 2006.
3. Avrich is a Writer & Editor
Avrich is from New York and wrote an op-ed in the New York Times in 2014 describing her upbringing. She said that when she was a child, she would go with her family on vacations to Amsterdam, where her father went to work. She said that she’d “tour the city, wander the canals, visit the great museums and sample the local chocolates.”
They did that while her father was at Amsterdam’s social history library, researching for his upcoming book. Her father’s career helped her gain interest in becoming a writer, and that’s the career she pursued in her later years.
Avrich is a researcher that’s written several books and pieces for publications. According to her profile on Harvard’s website, she’s also an editor based in New York and has worked on editing several of Halperin’s politics-based books.
“At my book party in Washington when thanking my girlfriend Karen Avrich for doing so much work on the book,” Halperin answered to the question, “When was the last time you cried and why?”
4. Her Father Asked Her to Finish Writing a Book for Him Before He Died
Before Paul died, he was working on his 11th book, titled Sasha and Emma: The Anarchist Odyssey of Alexander Berkman and Emma Goldman. As he fell ill and his symptoms continued to worsen, he asked Karen to complete the book for him.
“Rather blithely, I agreed,” she wrote in The Times op-ed. “I was a writer with a knack for research and a background in history; the subject was compelling; it would be a good opportunity to learn more about my father’s oeuvre. (I was abashed at reaching adulthood without having read all of his published books). Above all, I wanted to help. We had little time, however, for a conventional collaboration.”
Karen did so and the book was published in 2012, and it was a success.
The book takes place in 1889 with two Russian immigrants, Emma Goldman and Alexander Berkman, who met in a coffee shop. During the next 50 years, they became friends and eventually lovers.
In 1892, Berkman committed what was considered as “the first terrorist act in America,” the failed assassination of Henry Clay Frick, an industrialist. They sought to kill him for his crimes against workers. The book is a documentary of the two, describing their lives and the influence of the anarchist movement they helped to shape.
Leading up to the release of the book, Karen went on a media tour describing and touting the book that she co-wrote with her father.
5. Halperin Described Karen as being a ‘Political Junkie’
Avrich has been known to edit many of Halperin’s books before publishing them. He told The New Yorker in 2004 that Avrich acts as “a fail-safe system” to catch any details that he may have missed. He mentioned that he also has a team of young reporters who helped produce his books.
While Halperin is obviously a fan of politics, he told The New York Times in 2002 that his girlfriend is as well.
“She’s a junkie,” he told the newspaper “approvingly.”