Lemmon was criticized this year for saying presidential candidate Nikki Haley was not “in her prime.”
CNN fired longtime anchor Don Lemon, the news anchor said in a Twitter post, adding that he was “appalled” by the step and that he had not been directly informed of the network’s firing.
“My agent informed me this morning that I had been fired from CNN. I was stunned,” Lemon said Monday.
“After 17 years at CNN, I thought someone in management would have the dignity to tell me straight up. There was never any indication that I would not be able to continue doing the work I love at the network,” he wrote.
In a statement of its own, CNN said the network and Lemon had parted ways. It added that Lemon had the opportunity to meet with the network’s management, but instead issued a statement on his personal Twitter account. The network described Lemon’s account of events as “inaccurate.”
“Don will always be part of the CNN family, and we thank him for his contributions over the past 17 years,” CNN’s top boss, Chris Licht, said in a memo to employees. “We wish him well and will be rooting for him in his future endeavors.”
Neither statement gave a reason for Lemon’s departure.
Lemon joined CNN in 2006. He hosted the primetime show “Don Lemon Tonight” for more than eight years and rose to fame during Donald Trump’s presidency for comments about the former Republican president, whom he called a “racist.”
— Don Lemon (@donlemon) April 24, 2023
“A great day for women everywhere”
In February, he sparked another controversy when he discussed the age of politicians on CNN This Morning with co-hosts Poppy Harlow and Kaitlan Collins. Nikki Haley, a 51-year-old presidential candidate and former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, was not “in her prime,” he said. A woman is considered to be in her prime in her “20s, 30s, maybe 40s,” he said.
Harlow challenged Lemmon to try to clarify what he was referring to: “I think we need to make the cut. Do you mean gold for having a baby, or gold for being president?”
“Don’t shoot the messenger; I’m just saying what the truth is,” Lemon responded.
Lemon issued a statement the same day saying he regretted his “stupid and irrelevant” comments. He then missed the show for three days, returned the following week and tweeted an apology, but made no mention of the episode that aired.
Haley, who has criticized Lemmon’s comments as sexist and used the event to raise money in February, called Lemmon’s ouster “a great day for women everywhere” on Twitter on Monday.
Last week, Lemon also held a tense on-air interview with another Republican presidential candidate, Vivek Ramaswamy, in which Lemon, who is black, criticized Ramaswamy’s interpretation of racial history Raise objections.
Licht said the show will continue and that CNN is “committed to its success.” The show has been on the air for nearly six months.
Trump welcomed Lemon’s departure from CNN. On his Truth Social platform, the former president said: “My only question is, what took them so long?”