Chris Matthews says reporter’s allegation against him was ‘highly justified’

Former MSNBC host Chris Matthews said in his first interview since retiring from the network that the allegation of harassment leading to his ouster was “highly justified.”

In an interview with Vanity Fair’s “Inside the Hive” podcast, Matthews said that he “didn’t deny” the veracity of the complaint registered against him by GQ columnist Laura Bassett, who said that Matthews made multiple “inappropriate” sexual remarks to her before her various appearances on the network.

“I didn’t argue about it. I didn’t deny it,” Matthews said on the podcast. “I accepted the credibility of the complaint in the article. I didn’t want to challenge the person that made the complaint and wrote the article. I thought it was very credible and certainly within the person’s rights to write that article, of course.”

“That was highly justified,” he continued. “Basically, as I said, to repeat myself, it’s inappropriate in the workplace to compliment somebody on their appearance. This is in the makeup chair, and I did it.”

The remarks are his first public comments on the matter since the longtime MSNBC host announced his retirement live on the air in early March, seemingly surprising his MSNBC colleagues at the time.

“I’m retiring. This is the last ‘Hardball’ on MSNBC, and obviously this isn’t for lack of interest in politics,” Matthews said at the time. “As you can tell, I’ve loved every minute of my 20 years as host of ‘Hardball.’ Every morning, I read the papers and I’m gung-ho to get to work. Not many people have had this privilege.”

Matthews also faced criticism at the time for his comparison of Sen. Bernie Sanders’s (I-Vt.) victory in the Nevada caucuses to the Nazi invasion of France, an analogy that infuriated supporters of the Jewish presidential candidate.

He hosted “Hardball” on MSNBC for more than 20 years, before which Matthews was a speechwriter for former President Carter.

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