Chris Matthews, the man who’s spent the last 20-plus years playing Hardball on MSNBC, has bowed out of the talking game. And like Bill O’Reilly and Charlie Rose before him, it looks like the #MeToo movement had a role in his abrupt exit.
After accusations reemerged last week by GQ columnist Lauren Bassett that Matthews made sexist remarks when she was a guest on Hardball in 2016, the host announced he and MSNBC were mutually parting ways.
Bassett asserted that while she sat in a makeup chair preparing for the show, Matthews looked over at her and said, “Why haven’t I fallen in love with you yet?” She went on to say, “When I laughed nervously and said nothing, he followed up to the makeup artist, ‘Keep putting makeup on her, I’ll fall in love with her.’”
This could be the last in a string of inappropriate comments Matthews directed at female guests over the years.
“Compliments on a woman’s appearance that some men, including me, might have once incorrectly thought were OK, were never OK. Not then and certainly not today,” he said in his resignation signoff Monday night. “For making such comments in the past, I’m sorry.”
Matthews was set to retire following the 2020 presidential election. Bassett’s accusations came on the heels of other controversial comments by the 74-year-old host over the last month, including comparing the early success of Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., in the presidential campaign to the German blitzkrieg of France in World War II. He also mistook Democratic African American Senate candidate Jaime Harrison of South Carolina for African American Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C.
Matthews wore a variety of hats over his long career, including serving as former President Jimmy Carter’s speechwriter and chief of staff to former Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill. He was a print journalist for 15 years and ran for Congress in Pennsylvania in 1974. —Megan Basham