Chris Matthews is opening up about Laura Bassett's claims about his "inappropriate" behavior.
In a new interview with Vanity Fair published on Friday, the former MSNBC host spoke out for the first time since retiring amid sexual harassment allegations. He specifically addressed Bassett's claim that ahead of her 2016 appearance on Matthews' program, he remarked, "Keep putting makeup on her, I’ll fall in love with her." Bassett also alleged he made other "gross and inappropriate" comments.
"I didn’t argue about it, I didn’t deny it," Matthews told Vanity Fair about Bassett's claims, which were published in GQ magazine.
"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. 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," he added.
Matthews announced his retirement from MSNBC on his nightly political talk show, Hardball, last month. He had hosted the program for over 20 years. Matthews was reportedly expected to retire sometime in the near future, but said on-air that the decision to retire immediately came "after a conversation with MSNBC."
"The younger generation is out there ready to take the reins," Matthews said. "We see them in politics, in the media, in fighting for the causes. They have improved the workplace. We're talking about better standards than we grew up with -- fair standards."
Matthews also apologized for a number of controversies regarding inappropriate comments he allegedly made toward female colleagues in recent years.
"Compliments on a woman's appearance that some men, including me, might have once incorrectly thought were OK, were never OK," Matthews said. "Not then and certainly not today. And for making such comments in the past, I'm sorry."