Don Lemon fired by CNN
Following allegations of mistreating his female colleagues, which were reported in a Variety story earlier this month, CNN's CEO Chris Licht announced in a statement that Don Lemon, a longtime host of the network, has departed. Despite his departure, Licht emphasized that Lemon will always be part of the CNN family and thanked him for his contributions during his 17-year tenure. Lemon had been co-anchoring "CNN This Morning" with Poppy Harlow and Kaitlan Collins for nearly six months, and Licht expressed the network's commitment to the show's success. Lemon had previously hosted the prime-time program "Don Lemon Tonight" for over eight years before taking on his latest role.
Don Lemon expressed his surprise and disappointment on Twitter, stating that he was "stunned" by the news of his departure. He added that after 17 years at CNN, he would have expected someone in management to inform him directly rather than through his agent.
Don Lemon's career at CNN began in 2006, following stints at NBC Chicago, NBC News, "TODAY" show, and "NBC Nightly News." Earlier this year, he faced criticism for comments he made during a segment of "CNN This Morning" in which he suggested that Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley, who is 51 years old, was no longer in her "prime." Lemon's comment came in response to Haley's suggestion that candidates over the age of 75 should take mental competency exams.
CNN CEO Chris Licht acknowledged the backlash to Lemon's comments and said that Lemon had agreed to participate in training. Licht also stated that CNN and Lemon had moved on from the issue. Despite the criticism, Licht praised Lemon as a "lightning rod" who came to prominence during an era where outspokenness was celebrated and encouraged in prime time.
On April 5, Variety published a report alleging that Don Lemon had a history of mistreating women at CNN. According to the report, over a dozen former and current colleagues of Lemon, most of whom spoke anonymously, described him as openly hostile towards women in the network. The allegations were not independently verified by NBC News.
Don Lemon's departure from CNN comes less than two years after the network fired former anchor Chris Cuomo. Cuomo had hosted his own prime-time show on CNN before he was terminated in December 2021, following an investigation by the New York attorney general into allegations of sexual misconduct against his brother, former Governor Andrew Cuomo.