In late February, journalist Laura Bassett revealed that Matthews made unprofessional comments to her while she was getting her makeup done to appear on his show. She claimed he said “Why haven’t I fallen in love with you yet?” and “Keep putting makeup on her, I’ll fall in love with her.”
Less than a week later, Matthews announced his retirement from “Hardball” on air, surprising many viewers at home and some of his colleagues at MSNBC.
On Vanity Fair’s “Inside the Hive” podcast, Matthews said that Bassett’s account of what happened was true.
“It’s inappropriate in the workplace to compliment somebody on their appearance. This is in the makeup chair, and I did it,” he said.
He also explained why he didn’t refute Bassett’s allegations.
“I didn’t argue about it. I didn’t deny it. I accepted the credibility of the complaint in the article,” he said. “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.”
Bassett responded to Matthews’ admission and the article on Twitter, saying “I appreciate him owning up to this and respect how he handled it.”
Somehow I missed that Chris Matthews confirmed my story about him to Vanity Fair yesterday. I appreciate him owning up this and respect how he handled it. And to everyone who reflexively said I was lying: Please read this. https://t.co/Jd145g2beP pic.twitter.com/i0MpGMyknl
— Laura Bassett (@LEBassett) April 25, 2020
During his retirement announcement in March, Matthews had made a similar apology for his action.
“A lot of it has to be with how we talk to each other,” he said. “Compliments on a women’s appearance that some men, including me, might have once incorrectly thought were okay were never okay. Not then and certainly not today. And for making such comments in the past, I’m sorry.”