Chris Matthews Says Complaints About His 'Inappropriate' Behavior at MSNBC Were 'Highly Justified'

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It sounds like former MSNBC anchor Chris Matthews has been doing some self-reflecting since he resigned (on air!) from his longtime hosting gig on Hardball in March.


In an interview with Vanity Fair, Matthews addressed journalist Laura Bassett’s allegation that he made gross and inappropriate comments toward her when she appeared on his show. Bassett wrote about the harassment for HuffPost in 2017, but did not reveal the name of the “older, married” broadcast journalist whose comments to and about her included telling a makeup artist, “Keep putting makeup on her, I’ll fall in love with her,” and “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.”

In February, shortly after Matthews seemingly defended then-presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg’s reported sexist workplace behavior—to Elizabeth Warren, no less—Bassett revealed that that he had been the journalist in question. Matthews was forced out less than a week later, and to his credit, he appears to believe the consequences were just.

Per Vanity Fair (emphasis mine):

In the interview, Matthews acknowledged again that he’d made the remark, and that it wasn’t right. “I didn’t argue about it, I didn’t deny it,” Matthews says. “I accepted the credibility of the complaint in the article. I didn’t want to challenge the person that made the complaint and wrote the article. I thought it was very credible and certainly within the person’s rights to write that article, of course. That was highly justified. Basically, as I said, to repeat myself, it’s inappropriate in the workplace to compliment somebody on their appearance, this is in the makeup chair, and I did it.”

Not to pat anyone on the back for achieving the bare minimum, i.e., admitting to bad behavior and accepting the consequences, but the bar is outrageously low, so.




Admitting when you were wrong is rare and admirable. It doesn’t erase all the shit he’s done in the past, but being able to own his shit without making excuses or getting defensive is something worth commending and a necessary step to getting on the right path. Who knows if he’ll be able to continue on in the right direction, but I’m okay with encouraging problematic people when they show some signs of growth. I mean how will people with bad habits and bad attitudes ever learn how to get right if no one tells them when they’re hitting their marks? If they already knew where they needed to be, they wouldn’t have been such shits in the first place.