HBO has had a lot of success partnering with Jay Roach on movies about presidential elections. They previously scored with Recount and especially Game Change, which racked up five Emmys including Outstanding Miniseries or Movie. Game Change was based on the book co-written by Mark Halperin, who views politics not as something that affects people lives, but simply as a dramatic arena filled with big personalities, ripe for epic stories where everyone is a colorful scumbag and actual policies are topics for nerds.
The network hoped to stay in the Halperin business and had been working with him on a follow up to Game Change that would have chronicled the 2016 election, although if you turn on cable news right now and see pundits squawking about Trump and Clinton, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the 2016 election never really ended. However, following recent allegations that Halperin sexually harassed five women, HBO has decided to pull the plug on the project.
“HBO is no longer proceeding with the project tied to the untitled book co-authored by Mark Halperin and John Heilemann on the 2016 Presidential election,” the network said Thursday in a statement. “HBO has no tolerance for sexual harassment within the company or its productions.”
Halperin was already a loathsome character, but the sexual harassment allegations make him absolutely repulsive. Per THR, “The allegations were first reported Wednesday by CNN and came from Halperin’s tenure at ABC News as political director. The claims ranged from Halperin propositioning employees for sex to him pressing up against several women without consent while he was clothed and had an erection.”
For his part, Halperin said in a statement that he plans to pull away from day-to-day work “while I properly deal with this situation.” Read: “I’m waiting for the heat to die down and then I’ll come back because Americans are suckers for redemption narratives.”