MSNBC’s “Hardball” host Chris Matthews announced on air Monday that he’s resigning amid renewed criticism of his sexist behavior.
“After conversation with MSNBC, I decided tonight will be my last ‘Hardball,’” he said, stating that he wanted to pass the baton to a younger generation with “better standards than we grew up with ― fair standards” about behavior in the workplace.
His announcement comes days after he came under fire for an interview of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) after Tuesday night’s Democratic debate in South Carolina. In their conversation, the longtime host went after Warren for relating allegations against rival candidate Mike Bloomberg of sexual harassment.
“Why would he lie?” Matthews, who’s also battled a sexual harassment charges, asked Warren of Bloomberg. “Just to protect himself?”
The incident renewed criticism of Matthews for his own history of sexual harassment allegations and sexist remarks, including rape jokes about Bill Cosby and comments about Hillary Clinton’s ability to lead as a woman.
Laura Bassett, a former HuffPost reporter, revealed last week in GQ that Matthews inappropriately flirted with her in the makeup room on several occasions before she appeared live on his show, complimenting her on her appearance and asking, “Why haven’t I fallen in love with you yet?” She wrote about the experience in 2017 for HuffPost but chose not to name him at the time for fear of retaliation.
In a separate slip-up last week, Matthews confused South Carolina Democratic Senate candidate Jaime Harrison with Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), both of whom are Black, while reporting live on air during a Donald Trump campaign rally in South Carolina.
And earlier this month, he compared Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’s sweeping win in the Nevada caucuses to the 1940 Nazi invasion of France ― a particularly offensive comment given that Sanders is Jewish and that several members of his family were killed in the Holocaust.