'Game Change' co-author Heilemann 'flabbergasted and shocked' at Halperin accusations

'Game Change' co-author Heilemann 'flabbergasted and shocked' at Halperin accusations
© Getty

"Game Change" co-author John Heilemann told The New York Times that allegations against Mark Halperin left him “flabbergasted and shocked” after his former literary and television partner informed him of a CNN story around sexual harassment allegations while Halperin was at ABC.

“The bare nature of the accusations are horrific and shocking and terrible,” Heilemann said in an interview printed Wednesday.

“These behaviors are not the behaviors that I witnessed, and they’re not consistent with the person that I thought I knew. That’s not an excuse. That’s just the truth."

Heilemann, who co-wrote the bestselling "Game Change" with Halperin on the 2008 election and co-hosted "With All Due Respect" with him on Bloomberg TV from 2014 until January of 2017, said he didn't have "any inkling" his partner had engaged in such behavior.

“I had never heard of, been exposed to or had any inkling of the notion that he had engaged in any behavior that could be described in even the broadest sense of being sexual harassment or sexual assault,” Heilemann said in his first public comments since the allegations against Halperin surfaced last week.

"I was flabbergasted and shocked" he added.

Halperin, who has denied allegations of assault and groping but admitted pursuing relationships with ABC female co-workers, was with ABC News until 2007. Heilemann and Halperin teamed up for “Game Change” the following year.

The pair also partnered on Showtime's "The Circus" and the 2012 election bestseller, "Double Down."

“I hope that my reputation has not been damaged by this,” Heilemann also told the Times. "It’s far from destroyed, but it’s impossible for any of Halperin’s close associates to come out of this without some damage."

Penguin Press announced last week that it would cancel plans to publish the pair's upcoming book on the 2016 election after CNN reported claims from multiple women that Halperin abused his power at ABC News to sexually harass women he worked with. 

Halperin, a frequent contributor on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," and was suspended from the network shortly over the allegations surfaced. On Monday, he was fired.

— John Bowden contributed to this report, which was updated on Nov. 1 at 10:24 a.m.