On the Monday airing of Hardball With Chris Matthews, the longtime MSNBC journalist announced in his opening monologue that he was leaving the network following recent criticism over his coverage of the 2020 election and a new allegation of improper behavior toward women. “This isn’t for lack of interest in politics,” he said. Mathews — who has hosted Hardball since 1997 — added that the parting of ways was mutual, announced plans to write a book, and described the reason for his resignation:
“After a conversation with MSNBC, I decided tonight would be my last Hardball, so let me tell you why: The younger generations out there are ready to take the reins. We see them in politics, the media, and fighting for their causes. They are improving the workplace, we’re talking here about better standards than we grew up with, fair standards. A lot of it has to do with how e talk to each other, compliments on a woman’s appearance that some men, including me, might have incorrectly thought were OK were never OK. Not then and certainly not today. And for making such comments in the past I’m sorry.”
In recent weeks, Matthews, 74, has faced staunch criticism for comments made about Bernie Sanders’s win in Nevada and for challenging Elizabeth Warren in an interview following the debate in South Carolina. Matthews apologized for comparing, on-air, Sanders’s win to the “fall of France” to Nazi forces in 1940. (Sanders, who is Jewish, had family members who were killed in the Holocaust.) Earlier in the race, Matthews claimed that Sanders supporters would have him “gunned down in Central Park.” In an on-air interview, the way Matthews pressed Warren over an allegation levied at Michael Bloomberg suggested strong bias in favor of the former mayor:
Matthews: You believe he’s lying?
Warren: “I believe the woman”
Matthews: “You believe he’s lying.”
Warren: “Which means he’s not telling the truth.”
Matthews: “Why would he lie? Just to protect himself?”
Warren: “Yeah. Why Would she lie?”
Last week, GQ political columnist Laura Bassett also revealed two alleged encounters with Matthews shortly before going on air which she says “undermined my ability to do my job well.” In 2016, in the MSNBC makeup room, Bassett says Matthews asked her, “Why haven’t I fallen in love with you yet?” On another occasion, Matthews allegedly told a makeup artist to “Make sure you wipe this off her face after the show. We don’t make her up so some guy at a bar can look at her like this.” The alleged comments drew spotlight to past instances of Matthews’s alleged sexual harassment.
This post has been updated.