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NBC News and MSNBC senior political analyst Mark Halperin has issued an apology to five women after being accused of sexual harassment during his time at ABC news. Buzz60

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Political analyst Mark Halperin has lost a book deal and an HBO project based on it in the wake of sexual-harassment allegations by at least five women.

Late Thursday, Penguin Press announced it would cancel a book by Halperin and longtime collaborator John Heilemann about the 2016 presidential election.

"In light of the recent news regarding Mark Halperin, the Penguin Press has decided to cancel our plans to publish a book he was co-authoring on the 2016 election," the publisher said in a statement.

Earlier. HBO said it was "“no longer proceeding with the project tied to the untitled book. HBO has no tolerance for sexual harassment within the company or its productions.”

Halperin, who often appears on MSNBC and NBC News, is leaving his contributor post after the women said he sexually harassed them while he had a powerful position at ABC News more than a decade ago.

The women revealed the allegations to CNN under anonymity. They described instances in which Halperin, 52, propositioned an ABC employee for sex, and forcibly kissed and grabbed the breasts of another, among other allegations.

Halperin issued a statement to CNN, which broke the story Wednesday, admitting he did "pursue relationships with women that I worked with, including some junior to me."

"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."

Read more: Sexual harassment: Here are some of the biggest cases

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MSNBC called the allegations "very troubling" and announced Halperin would leave his role as a contributor "until the questions around his past conduct are fully understood."

The women told CNN they never reported Halperin to ABC management, fearing retribution. His power in politics and media, CNN reported, is why they chose to remain anonymous. 

The allegations stem from Halperin's long career at ABC, where he was named political director in 1997, CNN reported. Four of the women were ABC employees at the time of the incidents. 

One woman, according to the CNN article, described how she went to Halperin's office, where he then "forcibly kissed" her, pressed his body against her and touched her breasts. While on the campaign trail, a junior employee said Halperin invited her to his hotel room. Another said he propositioned her outside a women's restroom.

Halperin told CNN he never grabbed the woman's breast and did not "press his genitals against the three women," the story said. The women told CNN he never offered "anything in exchange for sex" or threatened retaliation.

ABC issued a statement to CNN after the article published saying, "Mark left ABC News over a decade ago, and no complaints were filed during his tenure."

MSNBC's Morning Joe, where Halperin is a frequent guest, briefly addressed the CNN story on Thursday morning. Co-host Mika Brzezinski read part of Halperin's statement and said the show would be following the story. Halperin was suspended by MSNBC in 2011 after calling former president Obama "a d---" on Morning Joe, Politico reported.

After leaving ABC, NBC said Halperin also held positions at Time magazine and Bloomberg Politics. Halperin has teamed up with John Heilemann to write the book Game Change about the 2008 election.

The allegations come as more and more women speak up about sexual harassment of powerful men. Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein was booted from his own company after the New York Times exposed decades of indiscretions. Last year, Fox News CEO Roger Ailes resigned after former Fox & Friends host Gretchen Carlson sued him over sexual harassment. Fox talk show host Bill O'Reilly was fired in April following a sexual harassment investigation.

Contributing: Gary Levin, Jocelyn McClurg

Follow Sean Rossman on Twitter: https://twitter.com/SeanRossman@SeanRossman

 

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