Longtime MSNBC star Chris Matthews stunned viewers and his co-workers Monday night by announcing he’s stepping down as host of political show Hardball, effective immediately.
“Let me start with my headline tonight: I’m retiring. This is the last Hardball on MSNBC,” Matthews said at the start of his show. “And obviously, this isn’t for the lack of interest in politics. As you can tell, I loved every minute of my 20 years as host of Hardball. Every morning I read the papers and I’m gung-ho to get to work. Not many people have had this privilege. I loved working with my producers and our discussions we’d have on how we report the news. And I love having this connection with you, the people who watch.”
— The ReidOut (@thereidout) March 3, 2020
He continued, “After conversations with NBC, I decided tonight will 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, in the media, and fighting for their causes.”
He went on to mention recent sexual harassment claims made against him by a journalist who previously appeared on his show, and offered an apology.
“A lot of it has to do with how we talk to each other. Compliments on a woman’s appearance that some men, including me, might have once incorrectly thought were okay were not okay, not then and certainly not today. And for making such comments in the past, I’m sorry,” Matthews said.
GQ columnist Laura Bassett went public with her claims about Matthews this past Friday.
“In 2017, I wrote about a cable news host being gross and inappropriate with me. I was afraid to name him at the time. I’m not anymore; it was Chris Matthews! And his sexist exchange with Warren this week inspired me to revisit those moments and name him,” Bassett tweeted, along with a link to a GQ column.
In the opinion piece, she claimed Matthews told a network makeup artist to “keep putting makeup on her” and asked, “Why haven’t I fallen in love with you yet?”
“Another time, he stood between me and the mirror and complimented the red dress I was wearing for the segment. ‘You going out tonight?’ he asked. I said I didn’t know, and he said — again to the makeup artist — ‘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,'” Bassett wrote.
“I’m pretty sure that behavior doesn’t rise to the level of illegal sexual harassment,” she added. “But it undermined my ability to do my job well.”