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The Zoom Dick Incident is Why We Need Inclusive News Rooms


I waffled over whether or not this was a topic for a RomanceDailyNews.com article. After all, there’s very little to like about this story, but the more I ruminated on it, the more I realized it is very important to romance readers and writers who are largely women and/or LGBTQ+ people, and therefore most likely to be the non-zoom dick displayer in a real life story like this.

Just in case you’ve been living under a rock, the Zoom Dick incident (which you could easily just Google) happened when noted New Yorker journalist and CNN commentator Jeffrey Toobin masturbated on a zoom call with seven of his New Yorker colleagues on an election simulation believing that his actions were “muted.” The New Yorker immediately suspended him and CNN gave his some sort of leave of absence.

I kept on Goggling and searching the follow up to this incident all day. Most of the articles are written by men, some of whom even tried to find empathy for a man who would do this. Lots of dick joke humor. Lots of schadenfruede because Toobin, while a respected journalist, seems to have been quite a dick. But no one really addresses just how disrespectful this is to his colleagues. Toobin apologized to his long-beleaguered wife and kids (who have obviously had to put up with this behavior for way too long) and co-workers, but there really is no way to explain this behavior.

As soon as the list of colleagues was released, it became abundantly clear to me that Toobin has no respect for anyone, including himself. His colleagues on this call included a number of prominent female journalists who had written about the #MeToo movement, a trans writer, an African American professor, the son of a noted journalist and publisher, a military expert, among others. It’s like jerking off in front of the Nobel Prize commission. Who does that? The answer is entitled, privileged men.

This story was originally treated as a mere “Opps-Jeffrey Toobin exposes himself on zoom,” and it was only when the noted journalists on the call, who were not a bunch of equally privileged white men, said, “no, he was masturbating,” that the truth came out. This is why we need inclusive newsrooms.