TV | March 4, 2020 11:31 am

The Story Behind Chris Matthews’s Departure from MSNBC

The "Hardball" host reportedly had to "jump before he was pushed"

Chris Matthews
Chris Matthews stepped down after making a bizarre comparison on-air.
Steve Bott/Creative Commons

Longtime Hardball host Chris Matthews stepped down on Monday after several controversies, including his comments likening a Bernie Sanders victory to the Nazis occupying France and a recent GQ article chronicling his history of making sexist, objectifying comments to women. Now, a new piece in the Washington Post offers a look at how the MSNBC host’s departure came together two days before his on-camera resignation.

According to the Post, network president Phil Griffin paid a visit on Saturday to Matthews’s home in Chevy Chase, Md., where the two spent several hours discussing the terms of his exit. “Matthews was not pleased, but he came to accept the outcome,” the publication writes. “During the conversation, Griffin made clear the window was closing on Matthews to leave the network in a way that would allow him to go on air, talk about his departure, and set the timing and terms, according to two people familiar with the conversation.”

It became clear that Matthews, who hosted Hardball for more than 20 years, was no longer a fit for the network. “Each time he went on air,” a person familiar with Griffin’s conversation with Matthews told the Post, “he was at risk for saying something that was not okay.”

The publication also notes that Matthews had conversations about his eventual retirement back in 2019, citing his desire to get home before 9 p.m. to have dinner with his wife. The plan then was for him to retire after the 2020 election, but Matthews’s series of recent gaffes and inappropriate comments caused the network to accelerate the timeline and “put Matthews in the position of having to jump before he was pushed.”

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