NBC Made Payment To Staffer After Sexual Harassment Claim Against Chris Matthews

Amber Athey | Media and Breaking News Editor

An MSNBC spokesman confirmed Saturday the company made a separation-related payment to one of Chris Matthews employees after the woman complained about sexual harassment.

Two sources familiar with the situation told The Daily Caller that Matthews paid $40,000 to settle with an assistant producer on his show, “Hardball with Chris Matthews,” in 1999 after she accused him of harassment. An MSNBC spokesperson contested that claim to the Caller, saying the company instead paid significantly less as part of a severance package.

The woman complained to CNBC executives about Matthews making inappropriate comments and jokes about her while in the company of others.

The MSNBC spokesman said that they thoroughly reviewed the situation at the time and that Matthews received a formal reprimand. Based on people who were involved in the matter, the network concluded that the comments were inappropriate and juvenile but were not intended to be taken as propositions.

The woman received separation-related compensation when she left MSNBC and has gone on to work in a number of high-profile media positions. MSNBC declined to comment on whether the employee left because of Matthews or whether this was the only claim in Matthews’ history at the company.

Matthews has been the host of “Hardball” since 1997 and also hosted “The Chris Matthews Show” from 2002 to 2013.

He is the latest in a string of high-profile men in media to be accused of sexual misconduct, particularly at NBC.

In late November, NBC News fired Matt Lauer, longtime host of “The Today Show,” after an employee complained about inappropriate behavior. Additional women accused him of sexual harassment and assault, and some insisted that executives at the network knew about his behavior.

NBC also cut ties with “Game Change” author Mark Halperin in October after a dozen women accused him of sexual harassment and groping, and senior vice president Matt Zimmerman for failing to report relationships he had with women who worked for him. (RELATED: Lauer Scandal Adds To NBC’s Awful Record On Sexual Harassment) 

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