Stephen Cohen/MSNBC(WASHINGTON D.C.) — Longtime MSNBC host Chris Matthews began his Monday night show with his abrupt resignation, following controversial comments he made over the last few weeks and new allegations that he had previously made inappropriate remarks to a woman appearing on his show.
Matthews, 74, addressed his audience for about two minutes at the top of Monday's show before abruptly signing off, surprising viewers — and, apparently, Steve Kornacki, who appeared shaken when he was handed the reins of Monday's Hardball show following the first commercial break.
"Let me start with my headline tonight: I'm retiring," Matthews announced at the top of the show. "This is the last Hardball on MSNBC."
Matthews came under fire in recent days for comparing Sen. Bernie Sanders' campaign victories to the Nazis invading France, and for an interview with Sen. Elizabeth Warren last Tuesday after the South Carolina debate in which critics said he treated Warren disparagingly over her attacks on Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
However, Matthews' parting comments noted something else was behind the decision.
On Saturday, political reporter Laura Bassett published an essay in GQ magazine in which she alleged Matthews made inappropriate comments to her while she was in his show's makeup room in 2016.
On air, Matthews apologized for his behavior and said he made the decision to end his run after nearly 23 years following a conversation with MSNBC management.
"Compliments on a woman's appearance some men, including me, might have once incorrectly thought were OK were never OK — not then and certainly not today," he said. "For making such comments in the past, I'm sorry."
When the show returned to air from a commercial break without Matthews, Kornacki addressed the audience, looking visibly surprised. He managed to praise Matthews as a "giant" who "will be missed," before calling for another break.
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.