CNN fires anchor Don Lemon in the wake of sexist comments, reported mistreatment of colleagues

CNN on Monday fired anchor Don Lemon in the wake of sexist on-air comments and reports that he mistreated female coworkers during his 17 years at the network.

An hour before Lemon announced his termination, Fox News said that right-wing prime-time host Tucker Carlson is leaving the cable network immediately. On Sunday, NBCUniversal said CEO Jeff Shell has left his role due to an “inappropriate relationship with a woman in the company.”

Lemon, who had hosted “CNN This Morning” as scheduled, said his agent informed him about his termination Monday morning. Lemon said he was “stunned” by the news.

“I would have thought that someone in management would have had the decency to tell me directly,” Lemon, 57, said in a Twitter post. “At no time was I ever given any indication that I would not be able to continue to do the work I have loved at this network.”

Lemon added that “it is clear that there are some larger issues at play,” without offering more details.

CNN, a unit of Warner Bros. Discovery, later Monday disputed Lemon’s account of his departure. The network called Lemon’s comments “inaccurate,” saying he was “offered an opportunity to meet with management but instead released a statement on Twitter.”

Shortly after Lemon first tweeted that he was fired, the network’s CEO, Chris Licht, said the anchor and CNN “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 network said in a statement. “We wish him well and will be cheering him on in his future endeavors.”

CNN added that the morning show Lemon hosted alongside anchors Poppy Harlow and Kaitlan Collins would continue to run. The program has been on air for nearly six months, and the network said it is “committed to its success.”

Lemon faced backlash in February for his remarks about Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley shortly after she announced a bid for the White House.

“Nikki Haley isn’t in her prime, sorry. A woman is considered to be in their prime in 20s and 30s and maybe 40s,” Lemon said on the air of the 51-year-old Haley.

Lemon apologized for his remarks about Haley.

Licht also said in late February that Lemon would undergo formal training because of the the sexist comments. The network head earlier this month told Semafor earlier this month that both CNN and Lemon have “moved on” from the issue.

Lemon’s firing also follows a lengthy Variety story this month that alleged the anchor had a history of threatening and making offensive remarks to female staffers at CNN.

The report was based on more than a dozen former and current colleagues of Lemon, Variety said. Most of them spoke anonymously to the outlet. 

Variety’s report says that, among other incidents, Lemon got angry when he was passed over for a reporting assignment in favor of former CNN correspondent Kyra Phillips in 2008. Lemon had been anchoring CNN’s “Live From” program at the time.

Phillips later received two threatening texts from an unknown sender, and CNN leadership eventually traced them back to Lemon, according to Variety.

A spokesperson for Lemon criticized the article at the time it was published, telling NBC News in a statement that it was “amazing and disappointing that Variety would be so reckless.”

The spokesperson told NBC that Variety’s story is “riddled with patently false anecdotes and no concrete evidence, is entirely based on unsourced, unsubstantiated, 15-year-old anonymous gossip.”

Before joining CNN in 2006, Lemon previously served as an anchor at NBC Chicago and correspondent for NBC News, the “TODAY” show and “NBC Nightly News.”

He has served as the prime-time anchor of CNN’s “Don Lemon Tonight” for more than eight years, the network’s website says. 

More than a year ago, CNN President Jeff Zucker resigned for failing to disclose a romantic relationship with a high-ranking colleague.

CNN also fired former prime-time anchor Chris Cuomo a year earlier. The network’s decision followed an investigation by New York Attorney General Letitia James that revealed how Cuomo helped his brother and former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo respond to sexual harassment allegations. 

Cuomo filed an arbitration complaint against CNN last year, seeking $125 million for wrongful termination. That case is still pending.

Disclosure: NBCUniversal is the parent company of NBC and CNBC.

By admin

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Posts