The five anonymous women's harassment accusations include incidents where Halperin reportedly propositioned employees for sex, pressed his clothed genitals against women's bodies and forcibly kissed and groped women without consent. Halperin denies grabbing a woman's breasts and pressing his genitals against three women, but issued a statement apologizing for his inappropriate behavior.
"During this period, I did pursue relationships with women that I worked with, including some junior to me," Halperin said 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."
CNN reports that Halperin is suspended from NBC and MSNBC, effective immediately. "We find the story and the allegations very troubling," MSNBC said in a statement. "Mark Halperin is leaving his role as a contributor until the questions around his past conduct are fully understood."
According to CNN's investigation, the alleged harassment took place from the 1990s to the mid-2000s. Halperin left ABC News in 2007 and CNN has not learned of any incidents of Halperin exhibiting similar behavior since his departure at this time.
Halperin is best known for being the co-author of the book Game Change, which was later adapted into an HBO movie. He currently is a news analyst for NBC News, frequently appears on MSNBC's Morning Joe and can be seen on Showtime's The Circus.
Showtime released a statement addressing the allegations as they related to a potential renewal of The Circus: "During Mark's time working with us, we have not seen nor have there been allegations of any untoward behavior. We are aware of these reports and will continue to evaluate all options should we decide to move forward with another season of The Circus. There is no tolerance for sexual harassment within Showtime and its productions."
During Thursday's Morning Joe, host Mika Brzezinski addressed the news in an on-air statement: "Now to a story that broke overnight involving someone you see around this table every day. CNN is reporting allegations regarding our friend Mark Halperin during his time at ABC News over a decade ago, unnamed sources detailing unwanted advances and inappropriate behavior. Halperin apologized for the pain his actions caused and said 'I will take a step back from my day-to-day work while I properly address the situation.' We are going to be following this story as it develops. I'm sure we'll be talking about it again when we know more about it."
The accusations against Halperin come in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal, in which over 50 women have come forward accusing the Hollywood producer of sexual harassment and assault.