Former MSNBC host Chris Matthews returned to the network Tuesday night as a guest on the show that replaced him after he was ousted over sexual misconduct allegations last year.
Matthews hosted Hardball for 20 years until last March, when he suddenly resigned on air, after GQ journalist Laura Basset publicly shamed him for complimenting her in the make-up chair when she was getting ready to go on his show.
He told her: ‘Why haven’t I fallen in love with you yet?’ then told the make-up artist: ‘Keep putting makeup on her, I’ll fall in love with her.’
Basset didn’t name him in her initial piece for GQ but she described the behavior as ‘gross and inappropriate’.
Matthews then made the decision to resign live on-air. He confirmed Basset’s story, apologized to her and said that a new generation was replacing his with ‘fair’ standards in the workplace.
On Tuesday night, he appeared as a guest on Joy Reid’s The ReidOut – the show that replaced his – to promote his new book, This Country: My Life in Politics and History.
Chris Matthews, 75, appeared on Joy Reid’s The ReidOut – the show that replaced him on MSNBC – on Tuesday night. He said it was ‘wrong’ of him to compliment female journalist Laura Basset on her appearance, and that it cost him his 20-year show
‘I know the reason I left, someone reported that I complimented, actually I’m going to use the right words here.
GQ journalist Laura Bassett wrote an article last year describing Matthews’ ‘gross and inappropriate’ behavior without naming him
‘I commented on someone’s appearance on the make-up room and I shouldn’t have done that.
‘Nobody needs to defend me, I did something wrong – I took ownership of it, to use a modern phrase, I lost my show over it.
‘That’s it,’ he said.
Matthews, 75, said losing the show had finally given him the time to write his book.
‘The good news is, I’ve never had in my life two years to actually sit down and write about my 70 years, which is to talk about an incredible life I’ve been so lucky to have, to be on the inside of American politics looking out.
”It was an amazing experience to work within democracy, and to see parts of the world fighting for democracy, like Nelson Mandela and bringing down the Berlin Wall. I got to see it all in one lifetime.
‘I want to share with the people who watched my show so faithfully all those years.’
Basset, in her GQ article, described how she was preparing to go on Matthews’ show to talk about her sexual misconduct claims against Donald Trump when he made the remarks.
Matthews interviewing journalist Laura Basset on Hardball. She said that before she went on the show, he told her: ‘Why haven’t I fallen in love with you yet?’ then told the make-up artist: ‘Keep putting makeup on her, I’ll fall in love with her.’
Basset said she didn’t lump Matthews in with the likes of Harvey Weinstein or others who have been accused and even convicted of sexual assault as part of the #MeToo era.
She said that he was never her boss and she wasn’t sure that what he said to her amounted to sexual harassment.
Basset also appeared on Inside Edition to say she’d received death threats from Matthews’ fans.
‘People [are] telling me to kill myself, people calling me a whore, people calling me ugly.
‘They want me to shut up, they want me to go away.’
Matthews, on Tuesday, also talked about the last year of politics and said that he felt ‘violated’ by the January 6 Capitol riot.
He fumed over Trump and said it was even ‘worse’ now that Biden was President, although Trump’s claim that Barack Obama is an illegal immigrant was ‘absurd, awful and racist.’
Matthews with his wife, Kathleen. He said he is grateful to have had the last two years to work on his book