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Chris Matthews Admits Harassment Accusation That Led to His Ouster ‘Was Highly Justified’

In his first interview since his MSNBC resignation, the ”Hardball“ host calls his workplace behavior ”inappropriate“

Chris Matthews acknowledges that former HuffPost reporter Laura Bassett’s accusation that he “inappropriately flirted” with her when she was guest on his MSNBC show “Hardball” in 2016 was “highly justified,” and he has “accepted the credibility of the complaint.”

In his first interview since stepping down as host of “Hardball” on March 2, Matthews told Vanity Fair‘s Inside the Hive podcast that the allegations Bassett made about him in a February GQ article were accurate. “I didn’t argue about it, I didn’t deny it,” he told Vanity Fair.

In the essay published in GQ on Feb. 28, Bassett said she was invited to appear on Matthews’ show in 2016 to discuss sexual assault allegations against Donald Trump. She said she was sitting in a makeup chair when Matthews approached her and said, “Why haven’t I fallen in love with you yet?” She went on to write that he repeated similar comments on subsequent appearances “Hardball” that made her uncomfortable.

“I accepted the credibility of the complaint in the article,” Matthews told Vanity Fair. “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.”

Matthews previously apologized on air to Bassett on the March 2 episode of “Hardball,” when he also abruptly announced his retirement.

“Compliments on a woman’s appearance that some men, including me, might have once incorrectly thought were OK were never OK,” he said at the time. “For making such comments in the past, I’m sorry.”