Don Lemon Out at CNN: ‘I Am Stunned’

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2023 Center Dinner - Credit: Cindy Ord/Getty Images
2023 Center Dinner - Credit: Cindy Ord/Getty Images

Tucker Carlson isn’t the only cable news host leaving a major network today. Don Lemon is officially out at CNN.

Lemon shared the news on Twitter Monday, April 24, writing that he was “informed this morning by my agent” that he’d been ousted from the network. Lemon said he was “stunned” and appeared to take a jab at CNN, saying, “After 17 years at CNN I would have thought that someone in management would have had the decency to tell me directly.”

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CNN confirmed Lemon’s departure in a statement shared on their PR team’s Twitter: “CNN and Don have parted ways. 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.”

No reason for Lemon’s ouster was given, and the anchor said he hadn’t received “any indication that I would not be able to continue to do the work I have loved at the network.” He added: “It is clear that there are some larger issues at play.”

But CNN pushed back on that claim in a follow-up tweet, writing, “Don Lemon’s statement about this morning’s events is inaccurate. He was offered an opportunity to meet with management but instead released a statement on Twitter.”

Lemon’s statement concluded with a thank you to his “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 ostensibly received the bad news after taping Monday’s episode of CNN This Morning, which he co-hosted as usual with Poppy Harlow and Kaitlan Collins. The show debuted about six months ago, and per a statement from CNN CEO Chris Licht (shared via CNN), the network remains “committed to its success.”

After joining CNN in 2006, Lemon rose to become one of the network’s most high-profile presenters and journalists. Before joining CNN This Morning late last year, he hosted his own popular primetime series, Don Lemon Tonight, from 2014 to 2022.

Back in February, however, Lemon garnered controversy after making sexist comments about Republican presidential hopeful Nikki Haley and the years women are “considered to be in their prime.” Lemon issued an apology and spent several days off the air, with Licht saying at the time that the anchor had “agreed to participate in formal training, as well as continuing to listen and learn.”

According to The New York Times, however, the fallout from the incident has lingered, putting Lemon’s future on shaky ground. CNN’s bookers were reportedly struggling to find guests that wanted to appear on-air with Lemon, while research showed Lemon’s popularity had dipped with audiences.

Haley also grabbed an opportunity to snag some attention for herself, garner some campaign contributions, and also take an arguably superfluous shot at trans athletes. The candidate recirculated a link to some beer koozies embossed with “Past My Prime? Hold My Beer,” which she first released a few months back, after Lemon’s comments. “A great day for women everywhere. Now, let’s get men out of women’s sports,” Haley wrote on Twitter, with the koozies pointedly paired with a can of lemonade. (Sight. Get it?)

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