Chris Matthews, the veteran political anchor and voluble host of the extensive-running MSNBC converse display “Hardball,” resigned on Monday evening, an abrupt departure from a television perch that produced him a fixture of politics and the information media around the previous quarter-century.
Mr. Matthews, 74, had confronted mounting criticism in recent times in excess of a spate of uncomfortable on-air moments, such as a comparison of Senator Bernie Sanders’s campaign to the Nazi invasion of France and an interview with Senator Elizabeth Warren in which the anchor was criticized for a condescending and disbelieving tone.
On Saturday, the journalist Laura Bassett wrote for GQ journal on the web that Mr. Matthews experienced made inappropriate comments about her visual appearance in the makeup room of his studio on several occasions when she was a guest on his application.
On Monday, a solemn Mr. Matthews began his common 7 p.m. broadcast by announcing to his viewers, “I’m retiring — this is the last ‘Hardball’ on MSNBC.”
In a quick monologue, he said he experienced agreed to phase down “after conversations” with network executives, including that his exit “isn’t for a absence of fascination in politics.” He also acknowledged giving “compliments on a woman’s physical appearance that some men, which include me, might have at the time incorrectly considered were Ok.”
“For generating these reviews in the past, I’m sorry,” Mr. Matthews explained.
His sudden signoff, however negotiated with senior community executives, arrived as a shock to some of Mr. Matthews’s most prominent on-air colleagues. Steve Kornacki, the anchor tasked with web hosting the remainder of Monday’s “Hardball” episode, appeared shocked as the demonstrate returned from a business crack.
“Um, that was a large amount to just take in,” Mr. Kornacki claimed, his eyes broad. “I’m sure you’re however absorbing that, and I am, way too.”
The anchor and correspondent Katy Tur posted a take note on Twitter about Mr. Matthews’s departure and extra the caption: “Wait. What?”
An MSNBC spokesman reported on Monday that a rotating series of hosts would fill Mr. Matthews’s time slot until eventually a long-lasting substitute was located.
Mr. Matthews is an eminence grise of tv news, his pugilistic and crimson-cheeked persona common to viewers from countless election evenings and parodies on reveals like “Saturday Night time Dwell.” He spoke from experience: Prior to his go into punditry, Mr. Matthews served as a speechwriter in Jimmy Carter’s administration and spent yrs as chief of staff to Thomas P. O’Neill Jr., the effective Democratic speaker of the Dwelling in the late 1970s and a lot of the ’80s.
But executives at MSNBC experienced been discussing a possible retirement prepare for Mr. Matthews for months, in accordance to two persons familiar with internal community conversations. There was speak of shifting “Hardball” to a a lot less popular time of day, for the duration of MSNBC’s afternoon lineup.
That was in advance of Mr. Matthews faced a sustained bout of on the net criticism for his on-air comportment in modern weeks. On the previous Monday, he opened “Hardball” by apologizing to viewers for a clumsy metaphor that compared Mr. Sanders’s dominance in the Nevada caucuses to Germany’s takeover of France in World War II.
“In the days and months and months in advance, I will strive to do a greater job myself of elevating the political dialogue,” Mr. Matthews pledged to viewers that evening.
But days later on, he was underneath hearth yet again, this time just after Ms. Bassett’s write-up in GQ, in which she said Mr. Matthews, in a makeup space, experienced seemed at her and asked, “Why haven’t I fallen in really like with you yet?” She explained other remarks that experienced designed her not comfortable, creating, “It undermined my capacity to do my position properly.”
On Saturday, Mr. Matthews had been scheduled to surface as component of MSNBC’s coverage of the South Carolina primary.
Instead, he was absent. Mr. Matthews experienced been benched, in accordance to a particular person briefed on private community conversations.
Marc Tracy contributed reporting.
Marc Tracy contributed reporting.