OAN Brooke Mallory
UPDATED 10:49 AM – Monday, April 24, 2023
Don Lemon has announced on Monday that his employment as a CNN anchor has been terminated.
The information subsequently came after a report was released earlier this month by Variety, saying that Lemon had allegedly abused his female coworkers throughout his time working there. He also experienced controversy earlier this year after making on-air remarks that were widely criticized.
Lemon tweeted about the breaking news, claiming his agency had told him he was being fired.
“I am stunned,” Lemon wrote. “After 17 years at CNN I would have thought someone in management would have had the decency to tell me directly.”
According to a memo given to NBC News on Monday, CNN CEO Chris Licht stated that the network and Lemon have “parted ways.”
“Don will forever be a part of the CNN family, and we thank him for his contributions over the past 17 years,” the statement said. “We wish him well and will be cheering him on in his future endeavors.”
Since joining CNN in 2006, Lemon had anchored for NBC Chicago and served as a correspondent for NBC News, the “TODAY” show, and “NBC Nightly News.” During a segment on “CNN This Morning” in February, Lemon received backlash for saying that Republican presidential contender Nikki Haley, 51, was past her “prime.” The remark was made in reference to Haley’s proposal that applicants above the age of 75 be submitted to mental competency tests.
“Nikki Haley isn’t in her prime, sorry,” Lemon said. “When a woman is considered to be in her prime — in her 20s, 30s and maybe her 40s.”
Co-anchor Poppy Harlow expressed annoyance at the statement to which Lemon told her not to “shoot the messenger.” Lemon volunteered to participate in training as a result of criticism of his remarks from the public, Licht informed the staff. Additionally, he stated to Semafor earlier this month that the situation has “moved on” for CNN and Lemon.
“Don Lemon is a lightning rod because he really came to prominence during an era where that was celebrated and encouraged in prime time,” Licht said.
However, a Variety article from April 5th said that Lemon had a long history of dubious behavior towards women.
According to Variety, the story was based on the accounts of more than a dozen former and present coworkers who stated Lemon openly discriminated against women at the network. Most of the sources spoke to the site under anonymity. The claims have not been independently verified by NBC News.
Following the allegation, a spokesperson for Lemon told NBC News that it was “amazing and disappointing that Variety would be so reckless.”
“The story, which is riddled with patently false anecdotes and no concrete evidence, is entirely based on unsourced, unsubstantiated, 15-year-old anonymous gossip,” the statement said.
In response to an inquiry from NBC News for comment, CNN pointed to statements it had made to Variety, in which Lemon was quoted as having refuted the allegations and the network as having been unable to “corroborate the alleged events from 15 years ago.”
Less than two years have passed since the network similarly let go of former host Chris Cuomo. After an inquiry by the attorney general into charges of sexual misconduct by his brother, former Governor Andrew Cuomo, Chris, who had his own primetime show for CNN, was fired in December 2021.
The degree of Cuomo’s involvement in supporting his brother in defying the accusations was made clear by the probe. The attorney general’s report indicated a “greater level of involvement” than CNN was aware of, the network stated at the time, despite the fact that he had previously reported some discussions with his brother. Cuomo sued CNN last year for wrongful termination, seeking $125 million in damages. The case is currently pending.
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