A woman’s rights advocacy group is calling on MSNBC to fire host Chris Matthews after he repeatedly confronted Elizabeth Warren about her criticism of Mike Bloomberg and cast doubt on claims made by a former female employee that he pressured her into having an abortion.
UltraViolet is urging that the network fire Matthews after he appeared to defend the billionaire former New York mayor over the harassment claims while interviewing fellow 2020 hopeful Warren.
The interview took place following the Democratic debate in South Carolina, in which Warren once again attacked Bloomberg over his use of nondisclosure agreements (NDAs) and sexist remarks.
Warren also brought up the claims, which Bloomberg denies, that he told a female staff member who just announced she was pregnant to “kill it” in 1990.
Warren discusses how she has faced her own “pregnancy discrimination” in the past after she was fired from a teaching job when she was 21-years-old because she was visibly expecting a child.
“At least I didn’t have a boss who said to me, ‘kill it,’ the way that Mayor Bloomberg is alleged to have said to one of his pregnant employees,” Warren said during the debate.
Speaking to Matthews, Warren said there should be no reason that the woman should not be believed about the “kill it” remarks because of how Bloomberg has allegedly treated female staff members before.
“We have gone on and on and on where people say, ‘Oh, I can’t really believe the woman.’ Really? Why not?” Warren asked.
“Mayor Bloomberg has nondisclosure agreements for who knows how many women. And it’s not just the one. How can you actually trust someone who will not just say, ‘Look, I’m going to waive on nondisclosure on sexual harassment and discrimination?'”
Matthews then asks Warren why she believes the woman over Bloomberg. “You believe he’s lying?…Why would he lie? Because just to protect himself?” Matthews asked, to which Warren replies. “Yeah. And why would she lie?”
Matthews adds: “I want to make sure you’re clear about this? You’re confident of your accusation?”
“All I know is what she said, and what he said,” Warren replies.
“I’ve been on her end in the sense discrimination based on pregnancy. It happens all across this country, and men all across this country say ‘Oh my gosh, he never would have said that.’ Really?”
In a series of tweets UltraViolet President Shaunna Thomas urged MSNBC to fire Matthews as he is “not fit” to carry on covering the democratic presidential election.
Thomas also referenced how the NBC reportedly paid $40,000 to settle a sexual harassment complaint from an assistant producer on his show Hardball with Chris Matthews in 1999 after he allegedly made a series of sexist and inappropriate jokes towards her.
“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,” Thomas said.
“We believe the women Bloomberg sexually harassed. The woman who made this accusation years ago has no incentive to lie about these claims-but Bloomberg, who is running for President, clearly does.
“That’s because Bloomberg’s history of sexist comments and racist attitudes have been well documented-he faces 40 cases involving 65 people who endured discrimination and harassment.
“We applaud [Warren] for standing with survivors of workplace abuse and bringing up these comments at the debate-it is clear that she supports and believes women-something that every Democratic nominee for President can and must do.”
Ultraviolet previously called for the Democratic National Committee to bar Bloomberg from appearing on stage during the televised debate until he releases his former employees from their NDAs.
Bloomberg has denied all harassment allegations against him, insisting “very few” women have signed NDAs at his company. During the South Carolina debate, he apologized for any jokes which may have offended his female staff members.
“I don’t remember what [the jokes] were,” Bloomberg said, “but if it bothered them I was wrong and I apologize. I’m sorry for that.”
In a statement, Bloomberg also promised three women who have signed such an agreement they can be free from them if they contact his company.
“I’ve done a lot of reflecting on this issue over the past few days and I’ve decided that for as long as I’m running the company, we won’t offer confidentiality agreements to resolve claims of sexual harassment or misconduct going forward,” Bloomberg said.
MSNBC has been contacted for comment.