Progressive activists are blasting MSNBC host Chris Matthews following a tense exchange Tuesday night in which he peppered Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., with questions about why she believed a woman who accused former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg of pressuring her to have an abortion.
"It's honestly shameful that Chris Matthews is still on air," writer Jessica Valenti tweeted. The women's group Ultraviolet similarly called on MSNBC to fire the longtime anchor.
“MSNBC needs to fire Chris Matthews. Today,” UltraViolet President Shaunna Thomas said in a statement, which she also relayed on Twitter. "Matthews’ refusal to believe women, and history of sexual harassment, make it clear that he is not fit to continue to cover this election. MSNBC can and must do better, and they can start by firing Chris Matthews.”
During Tuesday's Democratic debate, Warren confronted Bloomberg over the allegation. After the debate, Matthews pressed Warren on whether she believed the woman.
"You believe he's lying," Matthews told Warren. When Warren said she believed the woman, Matthews asked why Bloomberg would lie.
"Because just to protect himself?" Matthews asked. Warren responded: "Yeah, and why would she lie? I mean, that's the question, Chris."
"Why do you assume that he's the guy..." she started, before Matthews interjected. "I just want to make sure you're clear about this. You're confident of your accusation?"
Feminist Lauren Duca described Matthews' line of questioning as "insane."
In 2017, The Daily Caller reported that NBC paid an assistant producer on MSNBC's "Hardball with Chris Matthews" $40,000 in 1999 to settle her sexual harassment claim against the anchor. An MSNBC spokesperson said at the time that executives were told that Matthews made inappropriate jokes and comments about the woman in front of others, that the matter was reviewed and it was determined the comments were inappropriate and made in poor taste but were never meant as propositions.
MSNBC have not confirmed the amount paid to the woman, nor has the network said whether the payment was made to settle a harassment claim. NBC Universal did not immediately respond to Fox News' request for comment Wednesday.
Bloomberg has faced scrutiny over dozens of employment lawsuits against him and his company, Bloomberg LP. According to one of the lawsuits, Bloomberg allegedly told a female employee to "kill it" after learning that she was pregnant. She interpreted that as a directive to have an abortion in order to keep her job, according to The Washington Post.