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Bill Maher defends Chris Matthews, mocks harassment claim

"Real Time" host Bill MaherWilliam (Bill) MaherMaher on Biden's trillion plans: 'Thank God we got Mexico to pay for that wall' Hannity to interview Caitlyn Jenner following gubernatorial announcement Maher mocks Caitlyn Jenner over California governor bid 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."

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Over the past month, Matthews faced significant criticism for likening Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersSanders on Cheney drama: GOP is an 'anti-democratic cult' Briahna Joy Gray: Biden campaign promises will struggle if Republicans win back Congress Biden backs COVID-19 vaccine patent waivers 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 ScottUpdating the aging infrastructure in Historically Black Colleges and Universities McConnell amid Trump criticism: 'I'm looking forward, not backward' The instructive popularity of Biden's 'New Deal' for the middle class MORE (R-S.C.), both of whom are black.

He also took flak for an interview with Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenHillicon Valley: Broadband companies funded fake net neutrality comments, investigation finds | Twitter rolls out tip feature | Google to adopt 'hybrid work week' Warren: Trump is 'a danger to democracy' Biden backs COVID-19 vaccine patent waivers 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.

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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 TrumpVeteran accused in alleged border wall scheme faces new charges Arizona Republicans to brush off DOJ concern about election audit FEC drops investigation into Trump hush money payments 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."