NEW YORK (CelebrityAccess) — Chris Matthews, longtime host of MSNBC’s nighttime talk show “Hardball,” abruptly announced his retirement on Monday, leaving the broadcast mid-show.
Matthews, who is 74, said he and MSNBC had mutually agreed to part ways.
“I’m retiring,” Matthews said during Monday night’s ‘Hardball’ broadcast. “This is the last ‘Hardball’ on MSNBC.”
Following a commercial break, Matthews did not return and the rest of the “Hardball” broadcast was taken over by Steve Kornacki, who covers politics for the network.
Kornacki, who seemed surprised by the turn of events, said Matthews’s abrupt departure was “a lot to take in.”
The outspoken Matthews, who hosted “Hardball” on the network since 1999, largely took what passes as a centrist position in America’s current political landscape.
However, he has come under criticism in recent months over multiple comments, including a comparison of Bernie Sanders’ primary victory in Nevada to the fall of France to Nazi Germany in 1940.
Matthews was also the subject of an op-ed in GQ Magazine by journalist Laura Bassett who claimed that Matthews had acted inappropriately towards her when she was guest on his show in 2017.
As well, he was previously sanctioned by MSNBC over jokes and disparaging comments made to a female staffer there in 1999.
During his farewell on Monday night, Matthews appeared to reference this and apologized for “compliments on a woman’s appearance that some men, including me, might have incorrectly thought were OK were never OK,” Matthews said. “Not then, and certainly not today, and for making such comments in the past, I’m sorry.”
According to MSNBC, Matthews was already due to retire in the “near future” but the events of the past weeks changed the timing of the move.