Chris Matthews abruptly resigned from his MSNBC show ‘Hardball’ on-air

2017 Miami Book Fair - Day 7

I used to watch Hardball all the time, during the Bush and Obama administrations, but over the past five years especially, I’ve really edited down my cable news consumption. Nowadays, it’s only about Nicolle Wallace, Chris Hayes and Rachel Maddow for me. I completely skip Chris Matthews. I could say some sh-t to defend Matthews, because he used to be okay at his job, but honestly… the world outgrew Chris Matthews a while ago. The Me Too movement tried to come for him and it barely made a dent – he has a long history of really inappropriate comments to and about women, and several women in media have told their stories about how Matthews harassed them or made them feel uncomfortable (in a hostile/inappropriate work environment sort of way). Well, after all of that… Chris Matthews finally, suddenly, resigned from MSNBC.

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.

[From HuffPo]

I’m including his on-air resignation video below. I’m also including the post-debate interview he did with Elizabeth Warren last week, where he tried to hammer her about why she was coming for Michael Bloomberg’s misogyny wig. Chris Matthews seemed shocked that Warren would believe women, and he truly asked her “why would he lie?” Rebecca Traister has done some excellent work analyzing why the toxic men of the pundit class all need to go, and she’s been doing a ton of great work on Matthews especially.

2017 Miami Book Fair - Day 7

Photos courtesy of WENN.

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52 Responses to “Chris Matthews abruptly resigned from his MSNBC show ‘Hardball’ on-air”

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  1. Becks1 says:

    I’m not really surprised at this – I’m surprised at HOW it happened, but not that it happened. Chris Matthews isn’t an angel in the workplace by all accounts – he’s not at the level of Weinstein or Lauer, by any means, but it was definitely time for him to step down. I actually loved Hardball even though he was often super obnoxious and always interrupted people – he got interesting guests that represented a wide range of viewpoints, and he was often willing to call out the Democratic party for being…..inept, to put it mildly. He also has a lot of experience both in politics and journalism and has some good “war stories” to share.

    But none of that excuses his actions, and given some of the rumors and accusations, this was the right move for NBC.

    It was definitely a surprise though, in terms of the actual announcement, Steve Kornacki looked shell shocked after it. It seems obvious that NBC and Matthews reached a deal where he was allowed to “retire” rather than be fired and they let him do that on-air statement and then he was out.

    Honestly, after reading Catch and Kill – NBC has a lot to atone for and they should have started thoroughly cleaning their house years ago.

    • BayTampaBay says:

      I only watched HardBall hoping Howard Fineman (aka Kentucky Boy) would be a guest.

      For pure assahola political entertainment, George Will in his bow tie running down Donald J. Chump is much better.

    • Totally agree Becks1. I also used to watch Hardball even when I found Matthews problematic. As issues came to light however, he should have been forced out some time ago. As always though, it seems to take a white, on-air male showing his ass in public for a network to actually do anything. Almost too little, to late — but what else is new.

    • Candikat says:

      @Becks1: I think you nailed it. Clearly they were going to fire him. He either negotiated to do this little spiel, or he agreed to, say, finish out the week and then pulled the rug out from under the brass by “quitting” before they could fire him. Doesn’t much matter in the end.

      I used to like him, against my better judgment! He was so fun in the late 90s when trashy cable news was brand new and entertaining. I think he’s been with MSNBC since the very beginning, when the idea of Microsoft and NBC collaborating was OMG The Future!

      My take home, however, is this: Elizabeth Warren is amazing. I hope she’s able to come away with some delegates at the end of today. I wish our country was less of a dumpster fire which might allow me to hope for more.

  2. Jess says:

    This is great news. So many of the media gatekeepers – still – have too many personal reasons and biases that make them protect powerful men/ignore women and victims.

  3. Aang says:

    I quit Chris a while ago too. I always appreciated the obvious joy and enthusiasm he brought to his work. You can tell he really loves talking politics. But he’s just such a boomer. Constantly reliving the glory days and talking about Kennedy and Nixon or WWll. He doesn’t seem to grasp the change that’s happened in politics. New blood is needed. He’s right to go.

    • Becks1 says:

      the Bobby Kennedy references CRACKED me up. i’m not sure if you were watching when he published his Bobby Kennedy book, but around that time it was just overdrive….a bobby kennedy reference every 5 minutes, then he ended with a promo for his book. My husband and I just laughed every time.

      • Giddy says:

        This is so true. He found a tie-in to Bobby Kennedy in any and every subject. Or he might say to a guest “You might not be aware, but I’ve written a book on Bobby Kennedy”. Only to have the guest try to show surprise at the announcement.

    • epc says:

      I hear what you’re saying, and I agree that Chris Matthews – as an individual man – was long overdue to go on to a different pasture. But can we not insult the boomer generation with such a wide brush? Yes, I’m a boomer, right in the middle of the pack, and I like to think that I have been able to grow with the times as well as take a certain amount of pride in what the boomer generation was able to accomplish. It wasn’t nothing. I and a lot of my boomer friends and colleagues continue to evolve, and totally support and take actions to move forward in time.

  4. Annika says:

    Bye, Felicia

  5. Esmom says:

    What a weird, clueless thing to say about standards for the workplace being higher these days — what about standards for yourself? It’s blaming the employer for letting him getaway with sh^t instead of looking at his own behavior and realizing how awful it was. Good riddance.

  6. Liz version 700 says:

    I also quit Chris a while ago. I think his gross comments while hot miked at some big event really confirmed the rumors for me. I feel bad for Steve Koronaki he truly gets the worst emergency hosting gigs. One by one all of the men who were so gross every time a victims of sexual harassment, or just political woman (especially Hillary Clinton) spoke are turning out to have some major issues. Shocker. Looking at you Matt Lauer…

    • BayTampaBay says:

      I would love to see Ezra Klein get the hosting gig.

      They need to rotate this show between two different commentators with two days one week and tree days the next. Or maybe they will bring back Reverend Al and “Reved Up!” LOL!

      Then again they could do a BBC America type show and give it to Katy Kay who I really like.

      • Liz version 700 says:

        Those would be great choices! Just not Chuck Todd please not him.

      • Becks1 says:

        I think they’ll do a completely different show, I agree that I would love to see Nicolle Wallace but I wonder if she wants to do a prime time show?

        I like Chris Hayes a lot for himself and his twitter etc, but I find his show boring – he doesn’t usually have that many guests, etc. I would like MSNBC to keep a similar format to hardball (lots of rotating guests, etc) but a little less…..abrasive.

      • BayTampaBay says:

        Michael Smerconish?

      • Tiffany says:

        @Becks1. I think that is by design. Maddow is the bread and butter in that prime time viewing and he and O’Donnell benefit a lot from it. He gains and O’Donnell keeps.

      • Becks1 says:

        @Tiffany – good point. And it is a very different format/style than Matthews, so you didn’t feel like you were just watching the same show three times in a row. I’m a big Maddow fan but I like her show at 9 oclock even if it means I don’t always watch it since I go to bed early, lol.

        I would love if they moved joy ann reid into that slot (7 pm).

      • aang says:

        Ezra Klein yes!

      • Tiffany says:

        @Becks1. AM Joy is the best and I would be so disappointed if she left to go prime time. Joy has more of a say in her weekend format and it works so well. I too would love to see her more during the week but it will suck if it is at the expense of not having AM Joy anymore. And she kills it every time she fills in for Chris, Rachel or Lawrence. The fact that she can adjust like that says so much about her skill. It really is a Catch 22 because she deserves and has earned it and I am selfish will what I see of her now. 🙂

  7. Imogene says:

    I watched this happen last night and felt like Steve Kornacki’s hagiography was excessive and bizarre given the circumstances

    • Becks1 says:

      It was weird, esp how he kept asking the guests what they thought etc. Like…I get that you cant just ignore it, but it still was bizarre like you said.

    • Oh_dear says:

      I watched it too, and I figured Steve had just experienced the messy abrupt departure and was shook from that. It cannot be easy to watch your mentor, colleague and friend do the complete unexpected, especially if it was contentious. I highly doubt there was an easy transition from Chris taking off his mic and walking out and Steve ending up in that seat.
      I stopped watching Matthews a long time ago because I find him unbearable, loud, and self congratulatory but I can understand why Steve would want to show him respect and dignity by asking Matthews’ guests (who were there because of Matthews) to say some words.
      I also love the vulnerability and authenticity Steve showed even if I wouldn’t have been able to do the same for Matthews.

  8. PlayItAgain says:

    I’ve been skipping Hardball for a few years. I just couldn’t stand his constant interruptions and talking over guests—especially women—and all the yelling. He seemed to have one volume level—LOUD. It pissed me off that he’d rarely let people finish a sentence. Then there was all the cringe worthy comments about women’s looks. I literally gasped at some of the crap he’d say on live television, with apparently no repercussions. Until now.

    Is he knowledgeable about politics? Yes, definitely. And it was still more than time for him to go.

    • Giddy says:

      Thank you! Talking really fast, interrupting and talking over guests, his surprise at what women had accomplished, all combined to make his show unattractive to me. I need the news delivered in an interesting manner, Maddow is the queen of that. What I don’t need is a show where the abrasive host makes my blood pressure rise. See ya!

    • lucy2 says:

      I never really consistently watched him, because I couldn’t stand the way he spoke, so loud and grating.
      Given some of the terrible stuff he’s said, he should have left a while ago. Hopefully the job will be filled by someone better.

    • The Recluse says:

      I stopped watching him years ago because of this. He was a man in love with the sound of his own opinions. Ugh.
      They got rid of Olbermann for less: private donations to local campaigns…and then Matthews was accused of doing something similar: campaign stuff – for his wife – on a more egregious scale. But they kept Matthews. Ugh.

  9. Jamie says:

    His pouting exit is just typical of the self-centered misogynists. He got called out for decades of sexual harassment and instead of real self-reflection and understanding of what he did, he called it inappropriate “compliments” to women. Puh-leeze. Then he leaves in a huff in the middle of the show, all because he was FINALLY told to stop sexually harassing women.
    I’m glad he’s gone. But I wonder when the “he’s a nice guy; he didn’t harass me” takes will start pouring in from media/Beltway women.

  10. Valiantly Varnished says:

    BYE bish!

  11. Louisa says:

    He lost me the night Obama won in ’08 and said “tonight every little black boy knows he can grow up to be president and every little black girl to be a president’s daughter” Asshole. Good riddance.

  12. pollyv says:

    No question Chris has been problematic for years and it was time to go but that was some exit. He left right after his little speech and I don’t think anyone knew that was the plan. That must have been some meeting Chris had with the honchos yesterday to cause such an abrupt exit.

    • DM2 says:

      I also wonder if John Oliver’s show Sunday night had something to do with it, too — he did a montage of Chris’s many foot-in-mouth show closures that were hilarious. The guy had a serious case of trouth-mubble that seemed to only grow worse as time went on. The head honchos who might have seen that would not have been impressed once they were shown all together like that. I enjoyed his war stores, though, but time for some new blood in there — Nicholle Wallace would be great in that time slot – she takes no prisoners.

      • Becks1 says:

        I think it was the other way around. I think john oliver knew this was coming down the pipeline so that’s why they put it together. Matthews talks so fast that he often jumbles his words, I’m sure that segment wasn’t why this was so sudden. But it does make me think someone spilled to Oliver, especially if there were discussions over the weekend.

  13. Andrea says:

    I used to love Chris Matthews and watch him nightly, but I moved to Canada in 2012 and haven’t seen much of him since because this channel is unavailable up here.

    This man is 74 and like my father who is 77, the men of this era just don’t know any better. They won’t be woke because the men they hang out with are just as misogynistic as them. I have resigned myself that my dad won’t change. I can tell him I don’t want to hear certain comments, but he literally doesn’t see what he says is wrong. What can one do when you truly love a father who is a misogynist?

    • DM2 says:

      MSNBC is available here, Andrea. The only channel that my t.v. is allergic to is Fox News , so we don’t subscirbe to that one. 🙂

    • Sue M says:

      Yes, MSNBC is available on cable here in Canada. And you can always watch the shows online. I’m in BC with Telus. Unfortunately it is not part of my cable package and I must pay something like 3 bucks a month to add it in.

      • DM2 says:

        It’s included with Bell Fibe, but no, I certainly wouldn’t pay extra for it, for sure.

  14. Jules says:

    buh-bye, and don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

  15. Lisabella says:

    I’ve wanted him gone since 9/11. Wishes do come true…finally!

  16. Sue M says:

    I don’t think it was planned that Matthews walk out immediately after his statement. I got the sense that poor Steve Kornacki was yanked in at the very last moment because he was the only anchor in the studio. He was gobsmacked. The whole thing was very entertaining to watch.

    • Chrissy says:

      I think so too, Sue. In his statement, Matthews mentioned that Monday was his last show and then after the commercial break, her was gone. It looks like had left in a huff but why would he do that to Kornacki? Not only an unprofessional thing to do but Steve Kornacki obviously respected and learned a lot from him. Such a dick move IMO.

  17. Gracge says:

    MSNBC…that station that has two extraordinary women, Rachel Maddow and Nicole Wallace, yet still has smarmy Brian Williams….He’s another one that needs to go!