Clapping back. After Don Lemon claimed he was fired by CNN, the network said that his description of his termination was not correct.
“Don Lemon’s statement about this morning’s events is inaccurate,” read a tweet shared by the network’s communications team on Monday, April 24. “He was offered an opportunity to meet with management but instead released a statement on Twitter.”
Earlier in the day, CNN confirmed that Lemon, 57, would be leaving the news channel after nearly two decades. “CNN and Don have parted ways,” read a statement from the network. “Don will forever 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 endeavors.”
The network went on to note that Lemon’s morning show, CNN This Morning, would continue with cohosts Poppy Harlow and Kaitlan Collins. “CNN This Morning has been on the air for nearly six months, and we are committed to its success,” CNN said.
The former Today correspondent, meanwhile, claimed that he was let go with no warning after appearing on CNN This Morning earlier on Monday. “I was informed this morning by my agent that I have been terminated by CNN,” Lemon wrote in a statement shared via Twitter. “I am 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.”
The Louisiana native continued: “It is clear that there are some larger issues at play. With that said, I want to thank my colleagues and the many teams I have worked with for an incredible run. They are the most talented journalists in the business, and I wish them all the best.”
Lemon’s exit from the network comes two months after his sexist comments about former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley made headlines. “Nikki Haley isn’t in her prime, sorry,” the Brooklyn College graduate said on February 16 after the former South Carolina governor, 51, announced her candidacy for the 2024 presidential election. “When a woman is considered to be in her prime — in her 20s, 30s and maybe her 40s.”
When Harlow, 40, asked Lemon to clarify, the Transparent author said that an internet search would explain what he meant. “Don’t shoot the messenger, I’m just saying what the facts are,” he told his fellow anchor. “Google it. … Nikki Haley should be careful about saying that politicians are not in their prime, and they need to be in their prime when they serve. Because she wouldn’t be in her prime, according to Google or whatever it is.”
Later in the episode, Audie Cornish joined the discussion and clarified that she thought “prime” referred to Haley’s fitness for electoral politics. “She’s in her prime for running for office,” Cornish, 43, explained. “Political prime is what we’re talking about.”
Lemon apologized for his remarks shortly after the episode aired, but he was then absent from CNN This Morning for several days. He returned to his desk on February 22 after issuing a second apology.
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“I appreciate this opportunity to be back on CNN This Morning today,” he said at the time. “To my network, my colleagues and our incredible audience — I’m sorry. I’ve heard you. I’m learning from you, and I’m committed to doing better. See you soon.”