MSNBC anchor Chris Matthews announces retirement on air

(Reuters) – Chris Matthews, a longtime anchor at cable channel MSNBC, said on Monday he was retiring and that Monday night’s show would be his last.

His announcement followed a controversial remark about Democratic presidential contender Bernie Sanders, and an accusation that he made inappropriate comments to a female guest.

“Let me start with my headline tonight: I’m retiring. This is the last ‘Hardball’ on MSNBC,” Matthews said as he opened his evening show on the Comcast (NASDAQ:) owned channel.

The hour-long week night talk show hosted by Matthews and focusing on politics, is one of the staples of left-leaning MSNBC’s primetime lineup, where it has aired since 1999.

The decision by Matthews, 74, follows controversy in the past two weeks over comments in which he appeared to compare the success of Sanders in primary voting to the Nazi invasion of Europe during World War Two. Matthews last week issued an on-air apology.

In a separate incident, a journalist last week alleged that Matthews had made inappropriate remarks to her while she was getting ready to appear on his show in 2016.

“Obviously, this isn’t for lack of interest in politics,” Matthews said on Monday of his decision to retire. “The younger generations out there are ready to take the reins. We see them in politics and the media.”

“Compliments on a woman’s appearance that some men including me might have once incorrectly thought were OK, were never OK. Not then and certainly not today. And for making such comments in the past, I’m sorry. I’m very proud of the work I’ve done here,” he added.

Matthews said he came to his decision after talks with MSNBC.

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