Don Lemon says he was ‘stunned’ by CNN ‘firing’: ‘It’s clear there are larger issues at play’

Openly gay broadcaster Don Lemon has been fired from CNN, it was revealed on Monday (25 April).

Lemon had worked at the broadcast network since 2006, going on to eventually host his own show, Don Lemon Tonight, from 2014 to 2022. He claimed the firing came out of the blue, but CNN denies this.

Coincidentally, his firing was announced on the same day Fox News parted company with Tucker Carlson.

So, what do we know so far?

Broadcaster claims he was blindsided

Lemon released a statement on Twitter, saying he found out his position had been terminated on Monday morning through his agent. The 57-year-old co-host of the This Morning programme said he was “stunned”.

“After 17 years at CNN I would have thought that someone in management would have had the decency to tell me directly. 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 the network,” Lemon said.

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It was “clear that there are some larger issues at play”, he added, before thanking his colleagues “for an incredible run”.

However, CNN refuted Lemon’s words. In a statement from its communications department, it said Lemon “was offered an opportunity to meet with management but instead released a statement on Twitter”.

In a tweet, the network said: “Don will for ever be a part of the CNN family, and we thank him for his contributions over the past 17 years. We wish him well and will be cheering him on in his future endeavours.”

No specific reason for Lemon’s firing has been publically stated.

Rocky few months at CNN for Don Lemon

Dom Lemon had found himself at the centre of at least two controversies in the past few months.

He was removed from air for a few days in February after making comments about Nikki Haley, a candidate for the presidential nomination in 2024.

As reported by USA Today, in discussing Haley’s presidential campaign announcement and her call for “mandatory mental competency tests for politicians over 75-years-old”, Lemon said her “talk about age” made him uncomfortable.

He added that her comments were the “wrong road” to go down and that the Republican former governor of South Carolina was “not in her prime”.

He said: “A woman is considered to be in her prime in her 20s, 30s, and maybe her 40s.”

At 51, Haley is six years younger than Lemon.

That same day, Lemon tweeted saying his comment was “inartful and irrelevant” and he regretted it.

About a week later, when he returned to air, he tweeted again saying he was sorry. “I’ve heard you, I’m learning from you and I’m committed to doing better,” he said.

However, at the beginning of this month Variety released an article detailing alleged claims of sexism and misogyny towards colleagues dating back to 2008.

The New York Times reported Lemon’s audience appeal had dropped due to bad press and that the network was having issues booking guests because some people did not want to appear on air with him.

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