MSNBC host Chris Matthews is the latest high-profile figure to find himself at the center of a sexual harassment scandal after his network stated that it paid out a “separation-related payment” of an unconfirmed amount after a female assistant producer complained about improper behavior from the “Hardball” host.
The alleged misbehavior came to light on Saturday after the Daily Caller reported that the network paid $40,000 to an assistant producer with the “Hardball with Chris Matthews” show in connection to a claim that Matthews had made inappropriate comments toward her.
In a statement, a MSNBC spokesman confirmed that there was a formal reprimand on record against Matthews. The network maintained that Matthews made inappropriate comments and gestures toward the woman but that they were not interpreted as propositions, but as juvenile utterances on the part of Matthews.
“In 1999 this matter was thoroughly reviewed and dealt with,” an MSNBC spokesperson said, per NBC News. “At that time Matthews received a formal reprimand.”
The Daily Caller reported that the woman in question was paid $40,000 by CNBC, but MSNBC claimed that the amount was significantly less, citing a confidentiality agreement that prohibited the network from revealing the actual amount.
It is also not clear whether the woman – who reportedly went on to hold several high-profile media positions since her time with “Hardball” – left her position with MSNBC due to Matthews’ alleged harassment.
NBC News found itself mired in scandal after “The Today Show” host Matt Lauer was accused of sexually harassing multiple women. Multiple reports claimed that network executives were aware of allegations against Lauer but chose not to act on them because of the longtime anchor’s prominent position on the show.