After a brief and disastrous tenure as a morning show presenter and a little over two months, after he issued an on-air apology for remarks regarding Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley being beyond her prime, CNN fired longtime host Don Lemon on Monday.
The action immediately got vicious. After Lemon had co-hosted the show on Monday, CNN Chairman and CEO Chris Licht stated that they had “parted ways,” but Lemon described it as a termination and said it surprised him.
Lemon remarked, “I would have expected that after 17 years at CNN, someone in management would have the courtesy to notify me directly. CNN claimed that despite being given a chance to meet with management, Lemon chose to state Twitter.
CNN did not publicly explain Lemon’s termination. He claimed that Haley, 51, was not “in her prime” when discussing the ages of politicians on “CNN This Morning” in February. He added that a woman was supposed to be in her prime “in her 20s, 30s, and maybe her 40s.”
Lemon was pressed by Harlow to elaborate, saying, “I think we need to qualify. Are you referring to being in your prime to have children or to be president?”
Lemon replied, “Don’t shoot the messenger; I’m just stating the facts.”
The following day, Lemon released a statement in which he expressed sorry for his “inartful and irrelevant” remarks.
After taking a three-day break from the show, he returned the following week without mentioning the incident on television and with a tweeted apology.
Haley, who condemned Lemon’s comments as sexist and used the incident to raise money in February, tweeted on Monday that Lemon’s firing was “a beautiful day for women everywhere,” linking to the drink sleeves bearing the slogan “Past my prime? My beer, please.
As one of the first significant programming changes made under Licht, Lemon used to host the prime-time show “Don Lemon Tonight” but moved when the network introduced “CNN This Morning” in November, soon before the American midterm elections.
When he suggested that the American men’s soccer team should be paid more than the women’s squad last fall, he drew criticism for claiming that the men were “more interesting to watch.”
Collins and Lemon had a well-publicized on-air argument in December, during which he claimed she was attempting to interrupt him.
Additionally, Vivek Ramaswamy and Lemon had a contentious on-air interview last week in which Lemon, a Black candidate for president, questioned Ramaswamy’s understanding of racial history.
All of this presents a negative image for a morning news program, which tries to portray itself as a vast happy family and attracts a lot of female viewers.
Compared to the more well-liked “Fox & Friends” and “Morning Joe” on cable news rivals, the program hasn’t made much progress in the ratings.