Burning the midnight oil on Saturday night, The Daily Caller’s media reporter Amber Athey uncovered the latest case of sexual misbehavior in the news media as she explained how a former employee of Hardball host Chris Matthews was given “a separation-related payment...after the woman complained about sexual harassment.”
Athey was not only able to confirm through an MSNBC spokesperson that this settlement took place, but she also found two sources who confided “that Matthews paid $40,000 to settle with an assistant producer” for Hardball in 1999.
That portion of the story, however, was disputed by MSNBC as it claimed that they gave the woman less than that total amount in a severance package.
The complaint came after the woman told CNBC executives (where the show aired from 1997 to 1999) that the liberal pundit made, according to Athey, “inappropriate comments and jokes about her while in the company of others.”
Aside from the payment, Athey explained:
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 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.
For those wondering how this story never came to light, it’s debatable as to why that NBC wanted to keep this under wraps and the answers could be numerous (image, non-disclosure agreements, settlement conditions, etc.).
The past few months have shown that no industry has been left unaffected by the tidal wave of sexual misconduct accusations and national conversation about the universal need to feel safe in the workplace.
Despite a plethora of admirable and meticulous stories by the media on this issue, media figures such as CBS/PBS host Charlie Rose, MSNBC analyst Harold Ford Jr., MSNBC/NBC analyst Mark Halperin, NBC’s Matt Lauer, NPR’s Michael Oreskes, The New Yorker’s Ryan Lizza, New York Times correspondent Glenn Thrush, and PBS’s Tavis Smiley are just a few of the men who have lost their jobs or been suspended following disturbing allegations of misbehavior.
With four of those examples being (at one time or another) on NBC’s payroll, it’s safe to say that NBC and its image have taken a hit. The alleged attempts to cover-up Ronan Farrow’s investigation into Harvey Weinstein served as perhaps a warning sign that the network (along with so many others) had problems when it came to acknowledging and/or confronting sexual harassment within their own newsrooms.
As any possible Matthews updates develop, be sure to stay with NewsBusters. If any changes rise to the surface, watch out for future items featuring flashbacks into the vast Media Research Center archives. Certainly, it’ll be a stretch to say that this will fetch some (if any) coverage on Sunday's major broadcast network shows or CNN’s Reliable Sources (though any coverage is welcome). Either way, stay tuned.