Bill Maher, Panelist Defend MSNBC's Chris Matthews and Blast Accuser: 'How Fragile Can One Woman Be?'

HBO host Bill Maher defended recently ousted MSNBC host Chris Matthews Friday night and criticized journalist Laura Bassett's accusations of sexist remarks, which led to him stepping down from the cable news channel.

The Real Time host recalled his own 2002 firing from ABC's Politically Incorrect and defended Matthews as a victim of "cancel culture" in today's entertainment and news media. Maher ridiculed Bassett's accusations that Matthews was "being kind of creepy" to her and other women several years ago, mockingly declaring, "Thank you, Rosa Parks" for her coming forward publicly last month.

Maher's panel guest Caitlin Flanagan, a staff writer for The Atlantic, agreed and asked of Bassett: "How fragile can one woman be?"

"Speaking of getting s**t-canned, a friend of mine lost his job this week, Chris Matthews, 'wanted to give him a shout-out because I will miss him and a lot of other people will, too," Maher said Friday, prompting applause and cheers from his studio audience. "Guys are married for a million years, they want to flirt for two seconds."

"Thank you, Rosa Parks," Maher said of Bassett. "Jesus f***ing Christ. I mean, I guess my question is: Do you understand why Democrats lose?"

He lashed out at MSNBC for ousting Matthews, noting that he was right to ask Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren tough questions because his show is literally called Hardball. Maher added: "I think this 'cancel culture' is a cancer on progressivism. Liberals always have to fight a two-front war, Republicans only have to fight the Democrats. Democrats have to fight the Republicans and each other."

Matthews apologized to Bassett and his viewers last week before abruptly ending his lengthy TV tenure. He allegedly made several sexist remarks toward Bassett, such as "why haven't I fallen in love with you yet" as she waited in makeup before an appearance several years ago. Maher joked whether or not Bassett is a "compliment victim or a compliment survivor?"

"We empower all this lunacy," Flanagan said broadly of so-called "#MeToo" firings and Matthews being pushed out. "If every woman--if we're now empowered to take a flamethrower at ever mosquito, then we've become the thing we hate. It's not funny when a man loses his job, it's not funny when a man loses his career. You're saying it's 'creepy' -- but how fragile can one woman be?"

Maher also said Democrats and journalists such as 60 Minutes host Scott Pelley are "hypocrites" for trying so hard to condemn public figures like Matthews over years-old claims of sexist comments. He particularly referenced Pelley's question to Michael Bloomberg during an interview over an allegation that the billionaire made a joke about oral sex decades before.

"It's such a cheap way to look enlightened, 'I'm not doing this thing that you did then,'" argued Maher. "But if you were around then, you would have!"

bill maher caitlin flanagan matthews
HBO host Bill Maher and his panel defended recently ousted MSNBC host Chris Matthews Friday night and criticized journalist Laura Bassett's accusations of sexist remarks which led to him stepping down last week. Screenshot: HBO | YouTube