Matthews announces retirement, parts ways with MSNBC

Chris Matthews, one of the longest-tenured voices at MSNBC, announced his retirement during Monday’s night’s airing of his talk show, “Hardball.”

Matthews, 74, said he and MSNBC had mutually agreed to part ways. The decision followed a series of events that resulted in criticism of the host’s statements about Bernie SandersAfrican-American lawmakers, and comments he had made to female journalists and coworkers.

“I’m retiring,” Matthews said. “This is the last ‘Hardball’ on MSNBC.”

Matthews was due to retire in the near future with the events of the past week playing a factor in the timing of the move, an MSNBC spokesperson said.

After MSNBC aired a commercial following the announcement, Matthews did not return to the program. Steve Kornacki, a political reporter for the network, took over the rest of the hour, and seemed shocked by the news. “That was a lot to take in,” he said, saying it had been an honor to work with Matthews, and then beginning a discussion about the coronavirus response.

Matthews, a former speechwriter for President Jimmy Carter, has hosted “Hardball” on MSNBC since 1999 and remained a centrist voice on the cable news channel’s prime-time programming, which often features commentary that is further to the left.

NBCUniversal is the parent company of MSNBC and NBC News.

Matthews said he was not retiring due to a lack of interest in politics, but nodded to changes taking place.

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NANTUCKET, MA - JUNE 19: Chris Matthews of CNBC's 'Hardball with Chris Matthews' attends a Nantucket Film Festival party on June 19, 1998. (Photo by Bill Brett/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
BURBANK, CA - SEPTEMBER 30: (NO U.S. TABLOID SALES) State Senator Tom McClintock (R) appears on CNBC''s Hardball with Chris Matthews September 30, 2003 in Burbank, CA. McClintock is running behind Arnold Schwarzenegger in his effort to replace Gov. Gray Davis. (Photo by David Hume Kennerly/Getty Images)
P 360748 002 18NOV99 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Chris Matthews, left, and Donald Trump, right, pause during a break in the taping of MSNBC's 'Hardball with Chris Matthews,' at the University of Pennsylvania's Irvine Auditorium. Trump talked about the prospects of his running for President as the Reform Party candidate. Photo: William Thomas Cain / Newsmakers / Liaison Agency (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER OUT)
CAMBRIDGE, MA - OCTOBER 13: Democratic presidential candidate Sen. John Edwards (D-NC) (R) appears with host Chris Matthews (L) during a live broadcast of MSNBC''s Hardball with Chris Matthews at Harvard University October 13, 2003 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Edwards spent the day appearing on the show, taping a student television talk show and answering questions at a student town hall meeting. (Photo by William B. Plowman/Getty Images)
Chris Matthews of 'Hardball' and 'The Chris Matthews Show' (Photo by Gregory Pace/FilmMagic)
THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO -- Air Date 1/16/08 -- Episode 3477 -- Pictured: (l-r) Host Chris Matthews of MSNBC's 'Hardball with Chris Matthews' and host Jay Leno during an interview on January 16, 2008 -- Photo by: Margaret Norton/NBCU Photo Bank
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - AUGUST 02: Chris Matthews host of 'Hardball' speaks during the 'MSNBC' panel during the NBC Universal portion of the 2011 Summer TCA Tour held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on August 2, 2011 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)
HARDBALL WITH CHRIS MATTHEWS -- Decision 2010 -- Pictured: Chris Matthews -- MSNBC's Chris Matthews during Hardball's coverage of 'Decision 2010' on November 2, 2010 (Photo by Virginia Sherwood/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
NEW YORK - MAY 04: Hardball's news anchor Chris Matthews attends the 2010 TIME 100 Gala at the Time Warner Center on May 4, 2010 in New York City. (Photo by Charles Eshelman/WireImage)
UNITED STATES - JUNE 4: Chris Matthews, host of MSNBC's 'Hardball with Chris Matthews' and the weekly 'Chris Matthews Show,' delivers a National Press Club Newsmaker Luncheon address at the 25th annual Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation journalism awards luncheon for coverage of the presidency and for coverage of national defense issues. (Photo by Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call)
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 25: Chris Matthews, host of MSNBC's 'Hardball', attends the 101st Annual White House Correspondents' Association Dinner at the Washington Hilton on April 25, 2015 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Teresa Kroeger/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - NOVEMBER 3: Chris Matthews, host of MSNBC's Hardball, discusses his new book 'Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero' at the National Constitution Center on November 3, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jeff Fusco/Getty Images)
LATE NIGHT WITH SETH MEYERS -- Episode 275 -- Pictured: (l-r) Hardball host, Chris Matthews, during an interview with host Seth Meyers on October 14, 2015 -- (Photo by: Lloyd Bishop/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC -- SEPTEMBER 21: Coffee@WaPo: Religion in America, panelists discuss the Catholic Church in advance of Pope Francis' visit to DC. The Francis Effect Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington Cardinal Wuerl and Washington Post Associate Editor Carlos Lozada Church and State Chris Matthews, Host, Hardball with Chris Matthews, MSNBC Hon. Francis Rooney, Former U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Calif.) Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.) Full panel w/ Michelle Boorstein, Religion Reporter . (photo by Andre Chung for The Washington Post via Getty Images)
MEET THE PRESS -- Pictured: (l-r) -- Chris Matthews, Anchor, MSNBC's 'Hardball', Andrea Mitchell, NBC News Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent; Anchor, MSNBC's 'Andrea Mitchell Reports' appear on 'Meet the Press' in Philadelphia, PA on Sunday July 24, 2016. (Photo by: Bill McCay/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)
MEET THE PRESS -- Pictured: (l-r) ? Chris Matthews, Host, MSNBC?s ?Hardball? and Helene Cooper, Pentagon Correspondent, The New York Times appear on 'Meet the Press' in Washington, D.C., Sunday, April 30, 2017. (Photo by: William B. Plowman/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)
MEET THE PRESS -- Pictured: (l-r) Tom Barrack, Presidential Inaugural Committee Chairman, left, and Chris Matthews, Host, MSNBCs Hardball right, appear on 'Meet the Press' in Washington, D.C., Sunday, January 22, 2017. (Photo by: William B. Plowman/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 29: Host of 'Hardball with Chris Matthews' Chris Matthews attends the White House Correspondents Dinner MSNBC After Party at Organization of American States on April 29, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/NBC via Getty Images)
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"The younger generations out there are ready to take the reins,” he said.

Matthews also apologized for comments he made to women. On Friday, journalist Laura Bassett wrote an op-ed in “GQ” stating that Matthews “has a pattern of making comments about women’s appearances in demeaning ways” and that Matthews asked “Why haven’t I fallen in love with you yet?” just before a televised discussion about sexual-assault allegations against President Donald Trump.

The recent accusation that Matthews made inappropriate comments to a female journalist was not the first time he had faced such allegations. In 2017, The Daily Caller reported that MSNBC formally reprimanded Matthews over jokes and comments he made to a female employee in 1999.

“For making such comments in the past, I’m sorry,” Matthews said on tonight’s broadcast.

Matthews had recently drawn criticism for comments about Sanders, who is currently the frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination. Matthews apologized after comparing Sanders' win in the Nevada caucuses to the Nazis taking over France in World War II.

On Friday, Matthews mistook Jaime Harrison, a Democrat running for Senate in South Carolina, with Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C. Both men are black.

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

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