MSNBC Paid Former Staffer To Go Away In 1999 After She Claimed Host Chris Matthews Harassed Her
MSNBC announced that the network made out a separation-related payment to a female staffer working under host Chris Matthews following a sexual harassment complaint.
A spokesman for the NBC-owned network confirmed the news on Sunday, Dec. 17 in the wake of a Daily Caller report that claimed that the news channel paid the woman after she filed a sexual harassment complaint against Matthews in 1999.
Citing two sources "familiar with the situation," The Daily Caller first reported on Saturday, Dec. 16, that Matthews made a payment of $40,000 to the woman who served as an assistant producer on the host's Hardball with Chris Matthews.
However, a spokesperson for MSNBC later confirmed that the network settled the severance package with the woman at the time, which was of a considerably lower amount than originally reported.
"In 1999 this matter was thoroughly reviewed and dealt with. At that time Matthews received a formal reprimand," the MSNBC spokesperson said in a statement on Saturday.
Sexual Harassment Complaint
The spokesperson, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, noted that the female staffer approached CNBC executives (the show aired on CNBC before it moved to MSNBC) with a complaint that Matthews made inappropriate jokes and comments about her in the presence of other employees.
MSNBC then initiated an investigation into the matter and although the network found Matthews' remarks to be inappropriate and made in poor taste, it pointed out that his comments were never meant as propositions.
Matt Lauer Scandal
The news of the settlement comes at a time when several high-profile men in the media, particularly at NBC, have been accused of sexual misconduct.
Last month, Veteran Today Show co-host Matt Lauer was fired by NBC News after an employee complained about Lauer's inappropriate behavior at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia as well as in the workplace after the sporting event.
In the wake of his sacking, Lauer admitted to some of the complaints and issued a public apology to his accuser, saying that he was "truly sorry" for his actions. Lauer served as a host on the morning show for more than two decades before the scandal broke.
After his departure from NBC, Several women came forward with similar allegations against the host, including accusations that Lauer gave a female colleague a sex toy as a present and also exposed his penis to another female staffer in his office and then reprimanded her for not engaging in a sexual act with him.