Chris Matthews Apologizes For "Bill Cosby Pill" Joke

Chris Matthews - Getty - H 2018
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"Where’s that Bill Cosby pill I brought with me?" he said in leaked audio published by 'New York' magazine.

MSNBC anchor Chris Matthews has apologized for making an inappropriate joke about Bill Cosby before an interview with then-candidate Hillary Clinton on the campaign trail in January 2016. 

"Can I have some of the queen's waters? Precious waters?" Matthews is heard and shown saying in a clip obtained and published by New York magazine's The Cut on Friday.

In the clip, Matthews then asks: "Where’s that Bill Cosby pill I brought with me?" (His crew looks visibly uncomfortable, and a man puts his hand over his face.)

"This was a terrible comment I made in poor taste during the height of the Bill Cosby headlines," Matthews told the magazine in response. "I realize that's no excuse. I deeply regret it and I'm sorry."

Asked whether MSNBC has a statement about the joke, a network spokeswoman referred The Hollywood Reporter to his comments in the magazine. 

The story does not say how the audio and video were obtained. In September, Mediaite published leaked video showing MSNBC anchor Lawrence O'Donnell melting down on set during breaks on his show. An NBC employee reportedly was fired over the leak.

MSNBC anchor Chris Hayes, in an interview with THR a week later, said it was "pretty messed up" that the O'Donnell video was leaked to the press. "It's a space that we're all sort of trusting each other in," he said.

In mid-December, it was reported that Matthews was reprimanded after an employee complained about his behavior in 1999.