You can add Chris Matthews of MSNBC to the growing list of news media personalities who paid off a sexual harassment accuser.
According to a report by Amber Athey of The Daily Caller, MSNBC paid off a female producer on his show “Hardball with Chris Matthews” after she claimed he harassed her, making jokes and inappropriate comments about her in front of other employees. It appears MSNBC agreed that the harassment took place, but did not believe the incidents were sexual in nature, but rather, a series of derisive comments. The payout was part of a severance package when the woman left MSNBC.
Matthews, along-time critic of President Trump and Republicans in general, already has given two memorable moments to conservatives: he once said hearing President Barack Obama sent a “tingle” up his leg, which led to merciless ridicule and the nickname “Tingles.” Last year, he had a visible on-air breakdown when he realized Donald Trump had been elected President.
An MSNBC spokesman confirmed Saturday the company made a separation-related payment to one of Chris Matthews employees after the woman complained about sexual harassment.
Two sources familiar with the situation told The Daily Caller that Matthews paid $40,000 to settle with an assistant producer on his show, “Hardball with Chris Matthews,” in 1999 after she accused him of harassment. An MSNBC spokesperson contested that claim to the Caller, saying the company instead paid significantly less as part of a severance package.
The woman complained to CNBC executives about Matthews making inappropriate comments and jokes about her while in the company of others.
The MSNBC spokesman said that they thoroughly reviewed the situation at the time and that Matthews received a formal reprimand. Based on people who were involved in the matter, the network concluded that the comments were inappropriate and juvenile but were not intended to be taken as propositions.
The woman received separation-related compensation when she left MSNBC and has gone on to work in a number of high-profile media positions. MSNBC declined to comment on whether the employee left because of Matthews or whether this was the only claim in Matthews’ history at the company.
Matthews has been the host of “Hardball” since 1997 and also hosted “The Chris Matthews Show” from 2002 to 2013.
He is the latest in a string of high-profile men in media to be accused of sexual misconduct, particularly at NBC.