Former MSNBC star Chris Matthews, who was forced to exit the progressive network in 2020, irked liberals on Sunday by declaring he tried to warn fans of his former program "we were headed too far left" as a nation.
"I want Hardball fans to know how I appreciate your faith in me. 2022 could be a great time to show what we’ve learned. I tried to warn we were headed too far left," Matthews tweeted.
Matthews – a moderate Democrat who was replaced by the far-left Joy Reid when he left MSNBC – shocked viewers in March 2020 by announcing he would immediately step down from his program amid a series of controversies. During his on-air remarks, the longtime MSNBC host then referenced claims of sexual harassment against him by a journalist who previously appeared on his show.
In an op-ed for GQ days before the stunning announcement, journalist Laura Bassett claimed Matthews used sexist language when she visited the MSNBC studio to appear on his show as a guest. She recalled Matthews looking at her in an adjacent makeup chair before an appearance in 2016 and asking: 'Why haven’t I fallen in love with you yet?'"
Bassett said she laughed nervously, but Matthews kept making comments to the makeup artist. "Keep putting makeup on her, I’ll fall in love with her," Matthews allegedly said.
Bassett said she decided to write the op-ed because of a "sexist" interview Matthews did with Sen. Elizabeth Warren after a South Carolina Democratic debate days earlier in which he pressed Warren about her accusation that former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg once told a woman at his company to "kill" her unborn baby. Bloomberg denied that accusation.
In 2017, journalist Amber Athey reported that NBC paid an assistant producer on "Hardball" $40,000 in 1999 to settle her sexual harassment claim against the anchor. An MSNBC spokesperson said at the time that executives were told that Matthews made inappropriate jokes and comments about the woman in front of others and that the matter was reviewed. It was determined the comments were inappropriate and made in poor taste but were never meant as propositions.
Many critics and industry insiders felt Matthews was ultimately forced out of MSNBC because of his treatment of the far-left Warren and moderate politics, not because of the misconduct allegations. After having a series of rotating hosts, Reid officially took over the time slot in July 2020. She is widely considered one of the most liberal hosts in all of cable news.
Many prominent liberals took to Twitter to mock Matthews for the tweet:
Fox News’ Joseph A. Wulfsohn contributed to this report.