Chris Matthew’s departure from MSNBC comes as no surprise after long track record of inappropriate work behavior

Patryk Sikora

Cable news star Chris Matthews made headlines on MSNBC’s staple show ‘Hardball’ when he announced his retirement on a live broadcast at the beginning of March. While many outlets are reporting Matthews’ resignation as abrupt, given the headlines he has been making in the past couple of weeks, it should come as no surprise.

An editorial in GQ by Laura Bassett, titled “Like Warren, I Had My Own Sexist Run-In With Matthews,” exposing Matthews’ frequent objectification of women both on and off the air is what prompted the so-called retirement.  “He has repeatedly lusted over women in politics on air,” Basset wrote in the exposé as she cited multiple unsettling encounters that involved Matthews.  A few days later, he resigned on air.

Matthews was already under fire from multiple women’s advocacy groups after an ignorant line of questioning he presented to Sen. Elizabeth Warren in a discussion over former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s sexual harassment allegations that Warren had brought up in a Democratic debate. In short, Matthews was asking Warren why she believed the accuser and not Bloomberg. “Just to protect himself?” Matthews asked Warren, to which she responded “Yeah. And why would she lie?”

The writing was on the wall already as Matthews had become more unhinged on the air in recent weeks.  Just the week before his resignation, Matthews had to apologize to Sen. Bernie Sanders for  equivocating the Nazi invasion of France to Sanders’ Nevada primary victory. This came shortly after Matthews implied that there would be communist style executions in Central Park if Sanders wins the 2020 presidential election.

While letting Matthews retire instead of firing him isn’t exactly in line with the #MeToo movement, at least MSNBC got rid of him. The network should have publicly reprimanded one of its biggest faces at the very least, but instead it is making the situation seem like Matthews came to a sudden revelation of his wrong-doing all on his own. It is highly likely that Matthews has had such a long history of this exact type of toxic behavior in the workplace, and that more women have stepped forward in solidarity, which is why he left his 20-year-old show.

In 1999, when Matthews’ show was on CNBC, he was formally reprimanded by the network for inappropriate behavior and sexual misconduct toward a female employee. Even back then, he had similar accusations that were already decades old. Thought Matthews may have grown up in a different time, when he and President Donald Trump could have enjoyed such locker room talk without anyone saying a word to them, this doesn’t excuse him of his inappropriate commentary toward women, especially in the workplace.

“I’m pretty sure that behavior doesn’t rise to the level of illegal sexual harassment,” Basset wrote. “But it undermined my ability to do my job well.” No person should ever have to endure that type of treatment. Shame on MSNBC for harboring this type of work environment for so long.

Matthews did not receive nearly as much public shaming as he deserved, with networks fawning over him and certain hosts crying about his retirement. It seems like it wasn’t enough or in line with the #MeToo movement’s typical demands, but just like Matthews’ recent run-in with cancer, regardless of how you remove the cancer, it is certainly better to be rid of it.