Journalist Laura Bassett penned an op-ed in the online magazine GQ recounting her experience with sexist remarks from MSNBC’s Chris Matthews.
Bassett, a former Huffington Post reporter, noted that Matthews was the unnamed media figure she wrote about in a 2017 essay, who said he’d “fall in love with her” while they were getting their makeup done before a TV hit.
“Five minutes later, I was sitting next to him on the set, under bright lights, with a microphone clipped to my shirt and three cameras pointed at me,” Bassett wrote. “He asked me questions about sexual assault allegations against Donald TrumpDonald TrumpBaldwin calls Trump criticism following 'Rust' shooting 'surreal' Haley hits the stump in South Carolina Mary Trump files to dismiss Trump's lawsuit over NYT tax story MORE, and I had to look him in the eyes as I responded. I stumbled over my answers and forgot basic vocabulary words, the uncomfortable moment in the makeup room crowding my mind.”
She recounted separate instances in which Matthews commented on her appearance and choice of clothing, asking if she was "going out tonight."
"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," she wrote. "Many had similar stories."
Bassett wrote in GQ that Matthews's well-known behavior “creeps up to the line of sexual harassment without actually crossing it.” She pointed to a Daily Caller article from 2017 that accused Matthews of rating the women on his show on a numerical scale like a “teenage boy.”
Bassett also noted Matthews’s commentary on female politicians, complimenting their looks, as was the case with Sarah Palin and former Deputy Attorney General Sally YatesSally Caroline YatesFormer Chicago Red Stars players accuse ex-coach of verbal, emotional abuse An unquestioning press promotes Rep. Adam Schiff's book based on Russia fiction Sally Yates reveals breast cancer battle MORE, or calling them "witchy" or a "she-devil," as he did to Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonRepublican Ohio Senate candidate slams JD Vance over previous Trump comments Budowsky: Why GOP donors flock to Manchin and Sinema Countering the ongoing Republican delusion MORE.
The op-ed comes after Matthews received scrutiny over a line of questions he gave Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenWarren calls on big banks to follow Capital One in ditching overdraft fees Crypto firm top executives to testify before Congress Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker won't seek reelection MORE (D-Mass.) in the MSNBC spin room after the South Carolina debate Tuesday.
Matthews asked why Warren believed the women who accused Bloomberg of sexual misconduct and not him after Warren brought up the accusation during the debate.
"You believe he is lying?" Matthews asked, repeatedly pushing the senator on the topic.
"Yeah, and why would she lie?" Warren responded.
Bloomberg has several nondisclosure agreements with women in his company who have accused him of misconduct.
"There is a worthy journalistic line of inquiry Matthews could take about nondisclosure agreements and the role they play in muzzling women and upholding abusive power structures," Bassett wrote. "Instead of exploring that, Matthews attacked Warren's clarity on whether she believes another woman’s corroborated testimony."
"He seems constitutionally incapable of probing these hyper-relevant topics with anything approaching intellectual curiosity or open-mindedness," she continued. "In that way, he's also unfit for his job."
Bassett joined many women in calling for a reevaluation of the anchor's role on the network, calling it "irresponsible" to keep him on air.
"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," she concluded.
MSNBC did not immediately respond to a request for comment.