Over the years, Chris Matthews (host of MSNBC’s Hardball) has developed a reputation for saying unfortunate things about women on hot mics, including a 2016 general election season flub in which he drooled over Melania Trump. That reputation further solidified with a weekend report, which originated on Saturday from the The Daily Caller site, about how NBC agreed to a $40,000 severance payment for a Hardball producer who accused Matthews of sexually harassing her through inappropriate comments in 1999.
The information arrived per two sources, who claimed that Matthews made his sexually-charged jokes and comments in front of witnesses, and the producer brought her claims to CNBC executives (given that Matthews’ show aired there prior to being on MSNBC). NBC News later published an acknowledgment that executives reprimanded Matthews after an internal review, which found that his remarks “were inappropriate and in made in poor taste but were never meant as propositions.” MSNBC also disputes the severance amount:
The Daily Caller reported that the payment was in the amount of $40,000. The MSNBC spokesperson said in the email to NBC News that the employee received separation-related compensation but wouldn’t elaborate, citing confidentiality. The Caller reported that a spokesperson for the network said the payment was significantly less than $40,000.
The news arrives amid a slew of bad news on the sexual harassment front for NBC. The network recently terminated Mark Halperin of Morning Joe and Matt Lauer of Today amid mounting sexual harassment allegations. The latter was also the subject of several reports detailing his pattern of behavior, including discussions of a famous red button that he used to close his office door and other incredibly disturbing tidbits. The peacock network took action against both Lauer and Halperin after internal investigations.
In NBC News’ online statement about the severance agreement paid to the Matthews accuser, the network notes that he didn’t respond when asked if he wanted to comment on the matter.