Longtime “Hardball” host Chris Matthews resigned from his post at MSNBC on Monday night. Matthews’s sudden exit was reported by the New York Times.
As the Times noted, Matthews “faced mounting criticism in recent days over a spate of embarrassing on-air moments, including a comparison of Senator Bernie Sanders’s campaign to the Nazi invasion of France and an interview with Senator Elizabeth Warren in which the anchor was criticized for a condescending and disbelieving tone.”
Over the weekend, GQ published a story by freelance journalist Laura Bassett, who accused Matthews of making several sexually charged comments to her behind-the-scenes of his show. Bassett reported her allegations without naming Matthews in a 2017 essay for HuffPost.
In his retirement announcement on air Monday night, Matthews said young people are improving standards in the work place, and about “how we talk to each other.”
“Compliments on a woman’s appearance that some men, including me, might have once incorrectly thought were OK, were never OK,” he said. “Not then and certainly not today, and for making such comments in the past, I’m sorry.”
Matthews, a fixture of liberal punditry, leaves the network on the eve of Super Tuesday, arguably cable news’s most important night of the primary cycle, when the Democratic candidates will compete for more than a third of delegates. The 74-year-old host delivered a memorable on-air rant against Bernie Sanders and socialism last month.
According to MSNBC’s website, “Hardball” debuted in 1997. MSNBC confirmed in 2017 that Matthews “was reprimanded after being accused in 1999 of making inappropriate comments about a female employee, and the woman received a payment as a result,” Variety noted.