ABC’s Barbara Walters is apologizing for using her influence to to help a former aide of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad find work in the U.S.
The Telegraph got a hold of several email exchanges between Walters and Sheherazad Jaafari (below) who helped set up Walters’ interview with Assad in December — an interview that Syrian officials were not pleased with.
“I am in so much trouble here,” she writes to Walters on Dec. 8, a day after the interview.
Jaafari then came to New York looking for an internship or a University placement. Walters says Jaafari asked her about a job at ABC. “I told her that was a serious conflict of interest and that we would not hire her,” Walters writes in a statement obtained by TVNewser.
But Walters thought Jaafari could be a good fit as an intern on “Piers Morgan Tonight.” Jaafari writes to Walters on January 24:
I also hope to hear from Piers Morgan and I am ready to start interning with him as soon as I come back on Feb 11th. I will buy you some jewelry from Syria. Let me know if you need anything else from there!
Two days later, Walters emailed Richard Wald, the former NBC News president now a professor at Columbia University and the father of Jonathan Wald, the EP of “Piers Morgan Tonight.”
She is only 21 but had his ear and his confidence. I have recommended her as an intern to your son for Piers Morgan. She is applying to Columbia School of Journalism. She is brilliant, beautiful, speaks five languages. Anything you can do to help?
Wald responded that he’d send her information onto the International Affairs school, adding, “I will get them to give her special attention.”
In the end, Jaafari did not get into Columbia and isn’t interning for “Piers Morgan Tonight.” In her statement, Walters apologizes for using her influence in any way: “I realize that this created a conflict and I regret that.”