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Veteran US journalist accused of sexual harassment

Veteran US journalist accused of sexual harassment

Washington: Veteran US journalist Mark Halperin sexually harassed women while he was in a powerful position at ABC News, a media report said.

"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 on Wednesday night.

"I now understand from these accounts that my behaviour was inappropriate and caused others pain. For that, I am deeply sorry and I apologise. Under the circumstances, I'm going to take a step back from my day-to-day work while I properly deal with this situation."

Widely considered to be one of the pre-eminent political journalists, Halperin, 52, has, among other career highlights, been political director at ABC News; co-authored the bestselling book "Game Change," which was made into an HBO movie starring Julianne Moore as Sarah Palin; and anchored a television show on Bloomberg TV.

He currently serves as an analyst for NBC News, making frequent appearances on MSNBC's "Morning Joe", and is featured in Showtime's "The Circus", a show that chronicled the 2016 campaign cycle and the early days of the Trump presidency, and has a project in development with HBO.

Five women, who worked with Halperin, told CNN that he also had a dark side not made public until now.

The stories of harassment shared range in nature from propositioning employees for sex to kissing and grabbing against her will.

None of the women have said, though, that he ever promised anything in exchange for sex, or suggested that he would retaliate against anyone.

They women told CNN that they did not report Halperin's behaviour to management either because they feared retribution, given the level of power Halperin in the industry, or because they were embarrassed.

ABC and NBC News are yet to comment on the revelations.

The allegations against Halperin come weeks after Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein was publicly accused of sexual harassment and assault, allegations that have prompted multiple police departments to launch investigations, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts to expel him, and his firing from the company he co-founded.

Weinstein has denied all allegations of non-consensual acts.

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