Barbara Walters has apologized after it was learned that in exchange for a December 2011 interview with President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, she promised to help the daughter of an Assad aide and Syrian ambassador to the UN, Bashar Jaafari, in trying to get her a job in television.
Walters issued the statement of apology on Tuesday that she had reached out to connections at CNN to get the 22-year-old Sheherazad Jaafari an internship and tried to helped her try to gain admission into Columbia University in exchange for the interview from the controversial Assad.
“I did offer to mention her to contacts at another media organization and in academia, though she didn’t get a job or into school,” Ms. Walters said in the statement. “In retrospect, I realize that this created a conflict and I regret that.”
The negotiations for the interview were made in a series of e-mails between Walters and Assad’s reps, which were later collected by a Syrian opposition group to Assad’s regime and his forceful and violent rule in the country.
Walters was said to have turned down a request to get Jaafari a job with ABC News citing it would be to much of a conflict of interest. The contact at CNN was said to have worked for “Piers Morgan Tonight” and she had requested that they hire Jaafari. She then reached out to an old colleague from ABC who was a professor at Columbia to help the daughter gain admission into the school, which never happened.
The CNN request, that was said to reach Morgan himself, was never granted with even an interview.
In the e-mails it was reported that Walter’s described Jaafari as “terrific, brilliant, beautiful and a speaker of five languages, and a sensational young woman that would make a wonderful hire.”