(CNN Business)Chris Matthews, one of the country’s best-known political talk show hosts, is retiring from MSNBC, effective immediately, after a string of recent controversies on and off the air.
Matthews made the announcement on Monday night’s “Hardball,” the cable news show he has hosted for more than 20 years.
Monday was his final broadcast. “Obviously, this isn’t for lack of interest in politics,” Matthews said, indicating that the decision was not entirely his.
Matthews was told by management to step down, said a person with knowledge of the situation, who characterized it as a firing that was masked as a retirement announcement.
A different source disputed that and said it was “truly a mutual decision.”
Matthews mentioned a “conversation” with management during his farewell on Monday evening.
“After a conversation with MSNBC, I decided tonight will be my last ‘Hardball,’ so let me tell you why,” he said. “The younger generation’s out there ready to take the reins. We see them in politics, in media, in fighting for their causes. They’re improving the workplace.”
Matthews, 74, alluded to claims of inappropriate conduct that have trailed him for years, and resurfaced last Friday when GQ columnist Laura Bassett accused Matthews of making sexist remarks when she was a guest on “Hardball” in 2016.
Bassett recalled Matthews saying things like “Why haven’t I fallen in love with you yet?” and other “gross and inappropriate” comments.
Matthews did not specifically mention Bassett but that was the context in which Matthews’ made his remarks on Monday night about workplaces implementing “better standards than we grew up with — fair standards. 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,” Matthews said. “And for making such comments in the past, I’m sorry.”
Bassett responded to Matthews’ announcement by saying, in a tweet, “All I gotta