Whether it is by design or coincidence, MSNBC’s Chris Matthews was noticeably missing from the network’s coverage of the South Carolina primary on Saturday, one day after being the subject of a very public accusation of sexual harassment, according to The Hill.
The accusation came from writer Laura Bassett in a GQ piece that lambasted Matthews as being a sexist for comments made to a variety of women during his MSNBC career.
She then focuses on what she claims was her interaction with the controversial Matthews, who has issued no public comments in response to her article.
In 2017, I wrote about a cable news host being gross and inappropriate with me. I was afraid to name him at the time. I’m not anymore; it was Chris Matthews! And his sexist exchange with Warren this week inspired me to revisit those moments and name him https://t.co/oBWXXJDPhR
— Laura Bassett (@LEBassett) February 28, 2020
“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 GQ. “I was afraid to name him at the time for fear of retaliation from the network; I’m not anymore. It was Chris Matthews. 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,'” she wrote.
“Another time, he stood between me and the mirror and complimented the red dress I was wearing for the segment. ‘You going out tonight?’ he asked,” Bassett wrote, adding that Matthews told the makeup artists at the time, “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.”
Bassett noted that Matthews, who was never her boss, never crossed a legal line.
“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,” she said.
Bassett wrote that Matthews exhibited sexism in an interview with Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts in reference to a comment about former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s conduct.
“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. His position affords him the ability to affect public opinion, both sweeping away documented behavior of male presidential candidates and casting doubt on corroborated women’s accusations against those men,” she wrote.
“Having a news anchor who calls women ‘she-devil’ and treats their assessments with infantilizing suspicion while conducting post-debate interviews builds in a major disadvantage for female candidates. And that’s downright irresponsible,” Bassett wrote.
Bassett’s salvo against Matthews, 74, came as the women’s group UltraViolet was already pushing for his ouster due to the contentious interview he had with Warren, according to the Daily Beast.
“MSNBC needs to fire Chris Matthews. Today,” UltraViolet president Shaunna Thomas said in a statement, the Daily Beast reported. “Matthews’ refusal to believe women, and history of sexual harassment, make it clear that he is not fit to continue to cover this election. MSNBC can and must do better, and they can start by firing Chris Matthews.”
If you are surprised that Chris Matthews can be openly sexist and still have his job, you have to remember that all the guys who killed @RonanFarrow‘s Weinstein piece and protected Matt Lauer are still there.
— Julie DiCaro (@JulieDiCaro) February 29, 2020
“Chris Matthews has no business being on TV. That was true before Laura Bassett’s latest accusation. It is certainly true today,” Thomas said in the statement, according to the Daily Beast.
“By keeping Matthews on the air, MSNBC is endorsing, encouraging and enabling his disgraceful and dangerous behavior. Comcast, MSNBC’s parent company, has a long and dark history of protecting abusive men. And here we are again.”
MSNBC did not respond Saturday to a request for comment about Matthews’ absence from the South Carolina primary coverage, according to a Washington Examiner story published just before 11 p.m.
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