MSNBC guest accuses Chris Matthews of belittling, sexist behavior that hurt her career

(Image: MSNBC screenshot)

Columnist Laura Bassett revealed that the cable news host who sexually harassed her a few years back is MSNBC’s Chris Matthews.

The freelance journalist and GQ columnist who is a frequent MSNBC guest detailed Matthews’ alleged inappropriate comments and sexist behavior in an op-ed published Friday.

(Image: MSNBC screenshot)

“In 2017, I wrote a personal essay about a much older, married cable news host who inappropriately flirted with me in the makeup room a few times before we went live on his show, making me noticeably uncomfortable on air,” Bassett wrote in the article published in GQ magazine.

“I was afraid to name him at the time for fear of retaliation from the network; I’m not anymore. It was Chris Matthews,” she revealed.

Bassett had written about the veteran MSNBC host in 2017, claiming he had sexually harassed her in 2016 though she did not reveal his name at the time.

Bassett wrote:

In 2016, right before I had to go on his show and talk about sexual assault allegations against Donald Trump, Matthews looked over at me in the makeup chair next to him and said, “Why haven’t I fallen in love with you yet?”

When I laughed nervously and said nothing, he followed up to the makeup artist. “Keep putting makeup on her, I’ll fall in love with her.”

 

Matthews once allegedly “stood between me and the mirror and complimented the red dress I was wearing for the segment,” and asked, “You going out tonight?” Bassett recalled.

“Make sure you wipe this off her face after the show. We don’t make her up so some guy at a bar can look at her like this,” he allegedly told a make up artist.

“Again—Matthews was never my boss,” Bassett wrote. “I’m pretty sure that behavior doesn’t rise to the level of illegal sexual harassment. But it undermined my ability to do my job well. And after I published a story about it, even though I didn’t name him, dozens of people reached out to say they knew exactly who it was. Many had similar stories.”

The article comes just days after Matthews came under fire for his confrontation with Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren after her accusations against her 2020 rival Mike Bloomberg during the Democratic presidential debate in South Carolina.

Matthews was criticized for his “sexist” questioning of the Massachusetts senator when he asked about believing a female accuser claiming Bloomberg once told her to “kill” her unborn baby.

Bassett noted that the host of “Hardball”  has a “pattern of making comments about women’s appearances in demeaning ways,” and that the “number of on-air incidents is long, exhausting, and creepy.”

Matthews came under fire in 2018 when footage obtained by New York Magazine showed him asking, “Where’s that Bill Cosby pill I brought with me?” before he interviewed former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2016. He has also been called out for inappropriate comments about former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, CBS News’ Margaret Brennan, and CNN’s Erin Burnett.

A live microphone caught Matthews making some candid comments about Melania Trump in 2016 before the election, exclaiming that he could “watch that runway show” as he raved about her “runway walk.” The soon-to-be first lady found Matthews’ remarks “unbelievable” at the time.

NBC reportedly paid separation compensation in late 2017 to an assistant producer on Matthews’ show who accused him of sexually harassing her.

Bassett’s GQ article noted the “open secret of Matthews’s everyday behavior off camera with guests,” which she claimed, “often creeps up to the line of sexual harassment without actually crossing it, so that women can never feel that it’s worth jeopardizing their own careers to complain.”

She added that Matthews’s “whole modus operandi seems to be inviting smart women onto his show, flirting with them or otherwise making them uncomfortable before or while the camera rolls, asking them a question on air and then immediately interrupting them to tell them why they’re wrong.”

“Beyond the question of Matthews’s employment, there is the decision of keeping a man with this flagrant bias as the anchor of a major cable-news evening show,” Bassett contended, calling MSNBC’s decision to keep him employed “downright irresponsible.”

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Frieda Powers

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