Chris Matthews, longtime host of MSNBC’s Hardball and frequent commentator of women’s appearances, resigned on Monday night in a way that appeared to come as quite a shock to his colleagues.
“After conversations with MSNBC I decided tonight will be my last Hardball,” he said, adding, essentially, that times have changed since he began hosting the show more than 20 years ago. “A lot of it has to do with how we talk to each other. Compliments on a woman’s appearance, that some men, including me, might have once incorrectly thought were okay, were never okay. Not then and certainly not today.”
“Compliments” is a funny way of putting the many degrading comments he’s made about women over the years. But Matthews’ routine finally came to a head last week after journalist Laura Bassett revealed that a 2017 essay she wrote for GQ—in which an older, married cable news host made lewd comments about her—was about Matthews.
In the original essay, Bassett wrote that Matthews instructed a makeup artist to “Keep putting makeup on her,” until “I’ll fall in love with her.” Later, he told the makeup artist “Make sure you wipe this off her face after the show. We don’t make her up so some guy at a bar can look at her like this.”
Bassett decided to name Matthews following an exchange he had with Elizabeth Warren, in which he questioned Warren’s attack of Bloomberg for encouraging a pregnant female employee to “kill it,” asking Warren why Bloomberg would lie about such a thing.
“And why would [Bloomberg] lie?” Matthews asked Warren. “Just to protect himself?”
“Yeah, and why would she lie?” Warren responded.
Matthews and his producers seemed to know the resignation was coming, but Steve Kornacki, who was saddled with filling the rest of the show after Matthew’s departure, seemed a tad shell-shocked:
An MSNBC spokesperson told the New York Times that a rotating series of hosts would fill Matthews’s time slot until a replacement is found.