BREAKING NEWS : Fort Wayne Redevelopment Commission terminates Electric Works development agreement Full Story

Chris Matthews retires from MSNBC after string of recent controversies

Chris Matthews, host of the political talk show "Hardball," is retiring from MSNBC after a string of recent controversies on and off the air.

Posted: Mar 3, 2020 10:00 AM
Updated: Mar 3, 2020 10:00 AM

Chris Matthews, one of America's best-known political talk show hosts, is retiring from MSNBC, effective immediately, after a string of recent controversies on and off the air.

Matthews made the announcement on Monday night's "Hardball," the cable news show he has hosted for more than 20 years.

Monday was his final broadcast. "Obviously, this isn't for lack of interest in politics," Matthews said, indicating that the decision was not entirely his.

Matthews was told by management to step down, said a person with knowledge of the situation, who characterized it as a firing that was masked as a retirement announcement.

A different source disputed that and said it was "truly a mutual decision."

Matthews mentioned a "conversation" with management during his farewell on Monday evening.

"After a conversation with MSNBC, I decided tonight will be my last 'Hardball,' so let me tell you why," he said. "The younger generation's out there ready to take the reins. We see them in politics, in media, in fighting for their causes. They're improving the workplace."

Matthews, 74, alluded to claims of inappropriate conduct that have trailed him for years, and resurfaced last Friday when GQ columnist Laura Bassett accused Matthews of making sexist remarks when she was a guest on "Hardball" in 2016.

Bassett recalled Matthews saying things like "Why haven't I fallen in love with you yet?" and other "gross and inappropriate" comments.

Matthews did not specifically mention Bassett but that was the context in which Matthews' made his remarks on Monday night about workplaces implementing "better standards than we grew up with — fair standards. 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 never okay. Not then and certainly not today," Matthews said. "And for making such comments in the past, I'm sorry."

Bassett responded to Matthews' announcement by saying, in a tweet, "All I gotta say is... it's about time."

Matthews thanked his viewers and producers and then signed off. After a commercial break, the program resumed with fill-in host Steve Kornacki.

"I'm sure you're still absorbing that, and I am too," he said. "Chris Matthews is a giant. He's a legend, it's been an honor for me to work with him."

Kornacki tossed to another set of commercials, then hosted for the rest of the hour.

MSNBC did not immediately name a replacement for Matthews.

And it won't be easy to do so. Matthews has been a staple of MSNBC's political coverage almost since the cable channel launched in the mid 1990s. Through all of the channel's changes and rebrandings, he has been a familiar face.

But he has been in the news for all the wrong reasons lately — for likening the Bernie Sanders campaign to the Nazis, for misidentifying an African American politician, and for allegedly making sexist comments to Bassett.

When Sanders took an early lead in the Nevada caucuses last month, Matthews likened the moment to Nazi Germany invading France during World War II. Aides to Sanders, who is Jewish, expressed shock at the analogy.

Matthews' gaffes have also caused embarrassment. Last Friday night, Matthews mixed up Jaime Harrison, a Democrat running for his party's nomination to challenge Sen. Lindsey Graham, with Graham's Republican Senate colleague Tim Scott. Both Harrison and Scott are African American. "Big mistake," he said, when his guests awkwardly corrected him.

Matthews had been expected to retire after the 2020 election cycle, according to two people with knowledge of the situation.

One of the people said that Matthews had been in conversation with MSNBC executives about his retirement date for a period of months.

But the talks "accelerated," this person said, after the recent controversies.

Matthews was noticeably absent during MSNBC's coverage of the South Carolina primary on Saturday.

Guests on "Hardball" reacted to Matthews' abrupt departure on Monday night.

María Teresa Kumar, the CEO of Voto Latino, thanked him on the air for giving her a shot at national TV exposure during the 2008 primary season.

"I will forever be grateful to him," she said. "I wish him the best."

Kornacki acknowledged that "this is a very unusual and very difficult circumstance for all of us."

Another of Kornacki's guests, Eugene Scott of the Washington Post, said it's "really important and valuable" for Matthews to "acknowledge that a generational shift is happening, a new day has come."

At the end of the hour, Kornacki paid tribute to Matthews' legacy on television, his "deep patriotism," and passion for politics.

"Of all the television personalities I've ever known as a viewer, Chris is the most human," Kornacki said, "and I say that as one of the highest compliments I can pay to someone. I'm sorry — I think you got him, and I think he got you. And all of us are going to miss him."

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 68433

Reported Deaths: 2980
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion14863719
Lake7101271
Elkhart459777
Allen3635158
St. Joseph315479
Hamilton2513104
Cass17519
Hendricks1750105
Vanderburgh172612
Johnson1652118
Porter119539
Tippecanoe110311
Clark108145
Madison84765
LaPorte83829
Kosciusko81912
Howard81065
Bartholomew74347
Marshall74222
Floyd69444
Monroe68630
Delaware63852
Noble63728
Boone63546
Dubois62612
Hancock62337
Jackson5524
LaGrange54210
Warrick51630
Shelby51126
Grant49629
Vigo47410
Dearborn46528
Morgan42532
Henry36118
Clinton3573
White34710
Montgomery34321
Lawrence32827
Wayne3179
Decatur31432
Harrison29422
Miami2582
Scott25010
Daviess24619
Greene23934
Franklin22410
DeKalb2224
Putnam2228
Jennings21012
Jasper2082
Gibson2004
Steuben2003
Ripley1887
Perry17212
Starke1657
Orange16424
Wabash1613
Posey1580
Fayette1557
Jefferson1492
Whitley1486
Fulton1462
Carroll1452
Wells1342
Knox1310
Huntington1183
Washington1161
Spencer1143
Newton11010
Tipton1075
Randolph1034
Clay975
Jay820
Adams812
Rush794
Owen781
Sullivan761
Pulaski721
Brown701
Fountain632
Benton600
Blackford532
Ohio514
Pike460
Parke451
Switzerland430
Crawford420
Martin420
Vermillion380
Union320
Warren191
Unassigned0200

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 93963

Reported Deaths: 3539
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin17254514
Cuyahoga12753477
Hamilton9160248
Lucas4944318
Montgomery405778
Summit3294217
Marion288444
Butler271459
Mahoning2411253
Pickaway235742
Stark1690132
Lorain163476
Warren163435
Columbiana158260
Trumbull1433103
Fairfield125425
Delaware120618
Licking112543
Clark108613
Lake104336
Wood92458
Clermont85511
Medina83533
Miami76937
Tuscarawas74713
Portage71760
Allen65442
Greene62611
Belmont58926
Richland54012
Ashtabula53945
Mercer53513
Geauga53143
Erie52427
Wayne49958
Ross4014
Huron3764
Ottawa35925
Athens3451
Madison33310
Sandusky33217
Holmes3226
Darke32127
Hancock3202
Auglaize2225
Lawrence2200
Union2161
Jefferson2063
Washington19722
Putnam19217
Scioto1881
Coshocton1866
Muskingum1811
Knox1692
Crawford1685
Preble1662
Seneca1613
Shelby1604
Morrow1582
Hardin15012
Clinton1486
Fulton1401
Champaign1381
Ashland1333
Highland1321
Defiance1294
Williams1243
Logan1231
Wyandot1207
Brown1121
Guernsey1117
Hocking1119
Carroll1085
Henry1061
Perry1062
Fayette970
Monroe9118
Van Wert691
Jackson670
Pike660
Paulding610
Gallia581
Adams532
Vinton302
Meigs250
Harrison201
Morgan200
Noble170
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Overcast
63° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 63°
Angola
Overcast
59° wxIcon
Hi: 71° Lo: 51°
Feels Like: 59°
Huntington
Overcast
63° wxIcon
Hi: 71° Lo: 48°
Feels Like: 63°
Decatur
Overcast
64° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 50°
Feels Like: 64°
Van Wert
Overcast
64° wxIcon
Hi: 71° Lo: 50°
Feels Like: 64°
Cooler Tuesday
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events