MSNBC host Chris Matthews “inappropriately flirted” with a much younger female guest on at least two occasions while she was getting made up to appear on his “Hardball” show, the woman wrote Friday.
Freelance journalist Laura Bassett, who previously wrote about the incidents in 2017 without naming Matthews, identified him in a column published by GQ.
“I was afraid to name him at the time for fear of retaliation from the network; I’m not anymore,” she wrote.
During one incident in 2016, Matthews — who’s married to Kathleen Matthews, a former Maryland Democratic Party chairwoman — allegedly “looked over at me in the makeup chair next to him and said, ‘Why haven’t I fallen in love with you yet?’” Bassett wrote.
“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.’”
Another time, Bassett said, Matthews complimented her red dress and asked, “You going out tonight?”
When Bassett replied that she didn’t know, Matthews reportedly told the makeup artist, “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 said that although she’s “pretty sure that behavior doesn’t rise to the level of illegal sexual harassment…it undermined my ability to do my job well.”
Bassett, who uses a screenshot from an appearance on “Hardball” as her profile photo on Twitter, also said her interactions with Matthews made her “noticeably uncomfortable on air.”
Despite not naming Matthews in 2017, Bassett said that “dozens of people reached out to say they knew exactly who it was” because his off-camera behavior with guests is an “open secret.”
Matthews “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.
Bassett’s expose came just days after Matthews offered an on-air apology to Sen. Bernie Sanders for comparing the Democratic presidential candidate’s victory in the Nevada caucus to the Nazi invasion of France during World War II.
Sanders is Jewish and had relatives killed in the Holocaust.
A spokesperson for “Hardball” didn’t immediately return a request for comment.
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