Staffers used words like "awkward," "insane" and "a bit inappropriate" in describing Toobin's unexpected return Thursday after a leave of absence following his New York Zoom masturbation incident. "Toobin’s return to CNN after a nearly eight-month absence came on the heels of an aggressive lobbying campaign by his friends, according to two people familiar with the matter," reports The Daily Beast's Justin Baragona and Diana Falzone. "CNN boss Jeff Zucker, while expressing concerns about how viewers would react, was also open to giving the famed lawyer a second chance." As one anonymous female CNN staffer noted: “The way (CNN) brought him back on air was a bit inappropriate in terms of a full segment of mea culpa and then a hard pivot to his legal analysis on air (on another story)." The same staffer noted that the “general feeling” from her co-workers is that while they “trust” The New Yorker’s investigation that the October 2020 incident was the only one of its kind in Toobin’s past, they also wonder if CNN followed through with an internal probe of its own. Another person pointed out that Toobin was welcomed back in the newsroom with hugs. “They seemed happy he was back," that source said. "It’s invisible if people are grossed out because they wouldn’t be the ones to come up to him. The couple dozen in the newsroom seem happy to have him back.” ALSO: Does Toobin's return set a precedent at CNN that the entire staff understands and feels comfortable with?