I didn’t realize that Chris Matthews’ retirement was MeToo related.
Some of Matthews’s behavior has already been well-documented. Like Bloomberg, who frequently remarked “nice tits” and “I’d do her” at the office, Matthews has a pattern of making comments about women’s appearances in demeaning ways. The number of on-air incidents is long, exhausting, and creepy, including commenting to Erin Burnett, for example, “You’re a knockout…it’s all right getting bad news from you,” while telling her to move closer to the camera. Behind the scenes, one of Matthews’s former producers told The Daily Caller in 2017 that he allegedly rated his female guests on a numerical scale and would name a “hottest of the week,” like a “teenage boy.” In 1999, an assistant producer accused Matthews of sexual harassment, which CNBC, the show’s network at the time, investigated. They concluded that the comments were “inappropriate,” and Matthews received a “stern reprimand,” according to an MSNBC spokesperson.
This tendency to objectify women in his orbit has bled into his treatment of female politicians and candidates. He has repeatedly lusted over women in politics on air, including remarking in 2011 that there’s “something electric” and “very attractive” about the way former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin walks and moves, and noting in 2017 that acting attorney general Sally Yates is “attractive, obviously.” But he has reserved a particular contempt for the woman who made it closest to ascending the heights of American political power—Hillary Clinton—calling her “witchy,” “anti-male,” and “She-Devil.” The Cut obtained footage of him joking in early 2016, just before a live interview with then candidate Clinton, “where’s that Bill Cosby pill,” referring to the date-rape drug. In 2005, he openly wondered whether the troops would “take the orders” from a female president; after another interview, he pinched Clinton’s cheek; and in another, he suggested that she had only had so much political success because her husband had “messed around.” This evening anchor, in addition to everything else, has repeatedly challenged whether women are legitimate politicians or could be president at all. “I was thinking how hard it is for a woman to take on a job that’s always been held by men,” he said of Clinton in 2006.