TV host Matthews was reprimanded after woman's 1999 complaint

Chris Matthews

The Daily Caller, citing two sources familiar with the situation, first reported the news of the payment which it said was made by Matthews to settle with what it said was an assistant producer on his show "Hardball with Chris Matthews" in 1999.

A former MSNBC employee was given separation compensation after accusing host Chris Matthews of making inappropriate jokes and comments about her in 1999, which according to one report were sexual in nature.

It came after she had complained to executives about the anchor's conduct. However, they decided his off-color comments (which the network refused to describe beyond saying they were juvenile) were not intended as an actual proposition and therefore didn't require more serious consequences. A spokesperson for MSNBC told the Daily Caller that the company paid a much smaller amount as severance pay.

The woman later left the network, but it wasn't clear if it was over Matthews.

The woman said Matthews, now 71, had at the time made offensive jokes both to her and about her to others.

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The longtime host of the political talk show "Hardball with Chris Matthews" is the latest in a series of powerful men in US media, entertainment and politics to have been accused of sexual misconduct or inappropriate behavior.

A spokesperson for MSNBC told TPM that the employee alleged that Matthews made inappropriate remarks about her, and that Matthews was formally reprimanded.

Matthews is the latest media personality to be accused of sexual misconduct over the past several months.

NBC also cut ties with political pundit Mark Halperin in October after he was accused of sexually harassing a dozen woman and senior vice president Matt Zimmerman for failing to report relationships he had with women who worked for him, the Daily Caller reported. As a result of the comments, the employee brought a formal complaint to NBC executives at the time.

Smiley, 53, denies any wrongdoing and claims that the sexual harassment scandals sweeping the entertainment and media industry have "gone too far".

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