Bill Maher defends Chris Matthews, mocks harassment claim

"Real Time" host Bill MaherWilliam (Bill) MaherBiden to appear on 'The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon' on Friday Right wing's new-found love for satire and the 'It is only a joke" defense Juan Williams: Biden and Manchin are 2021's most influential politicians MORE came to the defense of former MSNBC "Hardball" host Chris Matthews, who recently retired after reports surfaced that he made inappropriate comments to women.

"MSNBC used to run this thing: 'This is who we are.' Well, I didn’t like who you were this week, and I don’t think a lot of people who work there liked this either," Maher said on his show Friday. "And I think this 'cancel culture' is a cancer on progressivism."

"Liberals always have to fight a two-front war," he continued. "Republicans only have to fight the Democrats; Democrats have to fight the Republicans and each other."


Over the past month, Matthews faced significant criticism for likening Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersFilibuster becomes new litmus test for Democrats Gallego says he's been approached about challenging Sinema Democrats call on Biden administration to ease entry to US for at-risk Afghans MORE’s (I-Vt.) decisive win in the Nevada caucuses to the Nazi invasion of France in 1940, drawing immense criticism from those who noted that Sanders is Jewish and many of his family members were killed in the Holocaust.

Then Matthews made headlines when he confused Democratic Senate candidate Jaime Harrison with Sen. Tim ScottTimothy (Tim) Eugene ScottThese Senate seats are up for election in 2022 The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Supreme Court allows lawsuits against Texas abortion ban Rapper French Montana talks opioid epidemic, immigration on Capitol Hill MORE (R-S.C.), both of whom are black.

He also took flak for an interview with Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenDemocrats call on Biden administration to ease entry to US for at-risk Afghans Biden stiff arms progressives on the Postal Service Trump by the numbers: 2024 isn't simple MORE (D-Mass.) in which he dismissed what she had said about former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg's record of using nondisclosure agreements.

On these incidents, Maher said Matthews had simply made a bad "analogy" and that the former "Hardball" host had essentially been labeled a "Klansman" for confusing Harrison with Scott. Maher also said that people overreacted to Matthews being dismissive of Warren.


The interview with Warren prompted GQ columnist Laura Bassett to resurface allegations of "inappropriate" behavior against Matthews.

"In 2016, right before I had to go on his show and talk about sexual-assault allegations against Donald TrumpDonald TrumpJudge rules Alaska governor unlawfully fired lawyer who criticized Trump Giuliani led fake electors plot: CNN Giuliani associate sentenced to a year in prison in campaign finance case MORE, Matthews 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 in a GQ piece that was published last week.

"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 continued.

Maher admitted that Matthews made "kind of creepy" comments but said, "Guys are married for a million year. They want to flirt for two seconds. He said to somebody, Laura Bassett, four years ago, she’s in makeup, he said, 'Why haven’t I fallen in love with you yet?' Yes, it is creepy."

Maher added, "She said, 'I was afraid to name him at the time out of fear of retaliation. I’m not afraid anymore.' Thank you, Rosa Parks. I mean, Jesus f---ing Christ! I guess my question is, do you wonder how Democrats lose?”

Bassett responded to Maher on Saturday, tweeting, "Hey @billmaher how’s this for fragile: F--k you."