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Don Lemon’s future at CNN uncertain after sexist Nikki Haley comments

By Savannah Hamilton
|
February 20, 2023

CNN’s Newsroom Anchor and Correspondent Don Lemon is under fire following a sexist remark about Nikki Haley, a 2024 Republican Presidential Candidate. Despite his apology, the co-host of CNN This Morning was cut from the Monday show, suggesting his future on the network may be in doubt.

Lemon made his controversial comment during Thursday’s show, in which Haley’s potential nomination was discussed. The veteran news anchor’s comment was a response to Haley’s suggestion that all politicians aged over 75 should take a “mandatory mental competency” test.

“This whole talk about age makes me uncomfortable. I think it’s the wrong road to go down. She says people, you know, politicians are suddenly not in their prime. Nikki Haley isn’t in her prime. Sorry, when a woman is in their prime is 20s and 30s and maybe 40s,” he said.

The response took his co-hosts, Poppy Harlow and Kaitlan Collins, aback, and Harlow immediately called him out.

CNN Chairman Chris Licht was also disappointed with Lemon, calling his comments, “upsetting, unacceptable and unfair to his co-hosts, and ultimately a huge distraction to the great work of this organization.”

Although Lemon was spotted vacationing in Miami over the weekend, it is speculated that he was forced to take Monday off following the backlash.

An Apology Was Issued

Lemon also did not appear on the Friday morning show, the day after the incident, as he had previously scheduled the day off. However, he did later join an editorial call to explain himself.

“I'm sorry. I didn't mean to hurt anyone. I did not mean to offend anyone,” he apologized on air. Lemon also later tweeted, “The reference I made to a woman’s ‘prime’ this morning was inartful and irrelevant, as colleagues and loved ones have pointed out, and I regret it. A woman’s age doesn't define her either personally or professionally. I have countless women in my life who prove that every day.”

Not everyone found those words to be genuine.

This is not the first time he has struck a nerve with his colleagues. According to various sources, Lemon’s co-workers have long been annoyed with his antics.

Lemon Is a Sinking Ship

Various accusations against Lemon have been previously made by co-workers and witnesses on set. For example, he allegedly made his co-host Collins cry during a December show, causing her to run off once the cameras cut. He also reportedly continued to harass her off the set following the incident.

Since then, several individuals have suggested that he should be fired, stating that his “colossal ego” is to blame.

With CNN suffering from decreased viewership and low ratings, CNN's management is treading carefully. After the Haley comment, Lemon is now a target not just among co-workers but viewers as well.

His latest actions have prompted many to speculate that Lemon may soon be on his way out.

Lemon, however, is not believed to be solely responsible, as insiders are pointing fingers at Licht. Some, in fact, have a theory that Lemon is already “plotting to jump ship.”

“The ratings are way down, the new boss is implementing tough new rules, and no one is happy. All these people were pampered with perks and pats on the back until now and all of a sudden Don, Wolf Blitzer and others are at a point of ‘yikes, we’re in trouble,’” reports an insider, adding, “Nobody’s going to want Don or any of his miserable co-workers with those bad ratings trailing after them.”

No confirmation has been made on when Lemon will be back on the network.