Former MSNBC host Chris Matthews said in his first public statement since stepping down amid harassment allegations two months ago that his behavior was “inappropriate.”

“I didn’t argue about it, I didn’t deny it,” Matthews told Vanity Fair about journalist Laura Bassett’s claim that he made a harassing comment to her when they were in makeup chairs next to each other in 2016.

“Why haven’t I fallen in love with you yet?” Bassett said Matthews asked her, adding in a GQ article that his “sexist” behavior “undermined” her as a journalist.

Matthews called the account “credible” and “highly justified,” adding that it was “inappropriate” to compliment a woman in the workplace, “and I did it.”

I’m no fan of Matthews, but if this wasn’t a pattern of behavior, I’m not sure why Bassett didn’t put him in his place in 2016, he didn’t apologize, and everyone didn’t just move on. Do we really have to destroy a person’s 20-year career over one offhand comment? Surely there is a better way.

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