As reported by Variety, veteran news anchor Chris Matthews is retiring, effective immediately, bringing an abrupt end to his long-running MSNBC news show Hardball—despite the fact that we’re in the middle of a heated Democratic primary that is going to have its most important day in literally a matter of hours. Variety says MSNBC will fill Matthews’ spot with a “rotating group of anchors” until a more permanent solution is put in place, and that there will most likely not be “any sort of special program” commemorating Matthews’ many years on the air.
The reason for that is probably the exact reason that the timing of this seems so quick: Matthews has been involved in a handful of controversies lately, including his suggestion that Bernie Sanders’ win in the Nevada primary was like when the Nazis invaded France in World War II—a comment that he later had to apologize for. On top of that, just a few days ago, GQ published a story from journalist Laura Bassett in which she described an interaction she had with Matthews where he made inappropriate comments about her before she was set to appear on his show. The piece, which was built around Matthews’ sexist treatment of Elizabeth Warren during a recent interview (in which he indignantly pressed her on how she could possibly believe the women who have accused Mike Bloomberg of making inappropriate comments), also details various other instances of Matthews’ “tendency to objectify women in his orbit.” He was also reprimanded in 1999 by MSNBC over comments he made about a female employee, which was recently confirmed by the network.
Variety says that discussions about Matthews’ retirement were already underway, but all of this apparently sped up those talks (according to an unnamed insider). MSNBC surely wouldn’t confirm that to be the case, but what we do know is that a veteran newsman announced his retirement from reporting the news on the evening before what will be one of the biggest news days of the year.