Don Lemon has been slammed by CNN's Chairman Chris Licht after he made 'upsetting, unacceptable and unfair' comments during This Morning show on Thurs
Don Lemon has been slammed by CNN‘s Chairman Chris Licht after he made ‘upsetting, unacceptable and unfair’ comments during This Morning show on Thursday.
Lemon, 56, made several ‘sexist’ comments when discussing GOP presidential candidate Nikki Haley’s suggestion that politicians 75 and older should face mental competency tests.
He then proceeded to take the day off on Friday following the backlash, which saw him clash with co-hosts Poppy Harlow and Kaitlan Collins.
The network has come under increased fire to fire the ‘clearly sexist’ star, who apologized again for his remarks during an editorial call for the show – calling in from Miami.
Chairman Chris Licht said on the call: ‘His remarks were upsetting, unacceptable and unfair to his co-hosts, and ultimately a huge distraction to the great work of this organization’, according to the New York Times.
Chairman Chris Licht said Lemon made ‘upsetting, unacceptable and unfair’ comments during This Morning show on Thursday
Lemon, who is five years older than Haley, 51, said the politician should tread lightly on the topic because ‘a woman is in their prime in 20s and 30s and maybe 40s’
On Friday, Kaitlan Collins opened the show by saying their controversial co-host ‘has the day off’ as Poppy Harlow joked that she was going to ‘complain to bosses’ after going to the all-star NBA game in Utah.
Lemon was replaced for the day by Audie Cornish, as the show avoided acknowledging the comments he made the day before despite rising calls for him to be squeezed out.
Insiders told DailyMail.com that Lemon is ‘rude, self-righteous and clearly sexist’, adding that ‘his apology meant nothing.’
During the call Lemon said: ‘I’m sorry I don’t mean to hurt anyone. I did not mean to offend anyone.
‘What I said came out wrong and I wish I hadn’t said it. I believe women of any age can do anything they set their minds to. The people I am closest to in this organization are women.
‘When I make a mistake. I own it and I own this one as well. I understand why you are upset and disappointed.
‘I was trying to make the point that no one’s age should define their ambition or potential for success and I was saying those comments to Nikki Haley. I’m going to continue to be who I am.’
Lemon also cited his relationships with Dana Bash, Erin Burnett, Amy Entelis, and his mom and sister, according to TMZ.
Kaitlan Collins (right) opened the show by saying that their co-host ‘has the day off’ as Lemon was replaced for the day by Audie Cornish (left), with the show not acknowledging the comments he made the day before
Poppy Harlow joked that she was going to ‘complain to bosses’ after going to the all-star NBA game in Utah
Collins was also quick to sing the praises of Cornish, her co-host for a day, by posting a picture of them together on her Instagram
His comments ruffled feathers, with a senior CNN staffer rebutting, ‘this is great, but it’s our viewers who deserve an apology.’
CNN employees reportedly called Lemon ‘tone deaf’ after the call, with one saying it looked like he was giving himself a pat on the back for owning his mistake.
One insider said that there was mounting pressure for Lemon to be fired after his continual gaffes on the early-morning show.
They told DailyMail.com: ‘Don has been skating on thin ice for so long and many wanted him fired in December when he freaked out on Kaitlin Collins for no reason. She was in tears and it was so inappropriate.
‘Regardless of his political affiliation, his comments that Nikki Haley being past her prime were disgusting. Poppy was fuming, as she should be, and still is.
‘He is rude, self-righteous and clearly sexist. Nikki did the right thing by calling him out.
‘His apology meant nothing and there is so much pressure for him to be canned. It would be a shock if he wasn’t.’
Lemon used to have his own show – Don Lemon Tonight – before Licht canceled it and created the new morning show.
CNN boss Licht previously promised to give the company a makeover since his take over last year but seems to have had little impact.
Lemon, 56, went ‘ballistic’ at staffers who highlighted the spat with Collins, according to RadarOnline – with the host claiming she ‘interrupted him’ during a December broadcast
There have been a number of changes at the broadcaster, with the executive producer of CNN This Morning, Eric Hall, being ousted and moved to a new role at CNN tonight.
When his 10pm show, Don Lemon Tonight, was canceled amid lackluster ratings last year, Lemon initially said that the move to mornings was not a ‘demotion’.
CNN did not immediately respond to a request for comment from DailyMail.com, but the hosts did reference that Lemon would be missing from the show on Thursday.
They said: ‘A special treat. Audie is going to be joining us tomorrow, Don’s going to be off, Poppy is going to be on assignment anchoring from Salt Lake City.’
However, the announcement came two hours after his initial comments during a 6.30am segment of the show – with Lemon laughing and telling Audie ‘this is a hot seat, I hope you can handle it.’
Harlow took a ‘well timed’ bathroom break and was followed into the bathroom by Kaitlan Collins – with the source adding the tense relationship has been ‘smoldering for months’
Collins was also quick to sing the praises of Cornish, her co-host for a day, by posting a picture of them together on her Instagram.
Harlow, Lemon and Collins had been discussing Haley’s proposal during a speech on Wednesday where she announced her run for president.
Lemon, who is five years older than Haley, 51, said the politician should tread lightly on the topic because ‘a woman is in their prime in 20s and 30s and maybe 40s.’
Haley herself responded to Lemon’s comments, saying: ‘It’s always the liberals who are the most sexist’ in a tweet with a clip of the video segment.
Lemon apologized for his comments on Thursdays show, and tweeted: ‘The reference I made to a woman’s ‘prime’ this morning was inartful and irrelevant, as colleagues and loved ones have pointed out, and I regret it.
‘A woman’s age doesn’t define her either personally or professionally. I have countless women in my life who prove that every day.’
A furious Harlow reportedly stormed off the set following the ‘sexist’ exchange on Thursday, sources told the New York Post.
Harlow took a ‘well timed’ bathroom break and was followed into the bathroom by Kaitlan Collins – with the source adding the tense relationship has been ‘smoldering for months’.
Lemon made his comments on Thursday’s episode of CNN This Morning alongside co-hosts Kaitlan Collins and Poppy Harlow
The CNN This Morning host allegedly made Kaitlan Collins run from the set in tears on December 8 after he berated her in front of the television crew and their other co-host
During Thursday’s show, Lemon kicked off his comments by saying discussing the merits of age in politics was ‘the wrong road to go down,’ then quickly went down that road.
‘She says people, you know, politicians are suddenly not in their prime. Nikki Haley isn’t in her prime,’ he said.
‘Sorry, when a woman is in their prime in 20s and 30s and maybe 40s.’
Harlow cut Lemon off, asking ‘What are you talking about? Prime for what?’ before Lemon pressed on while insisting ‘That’s not according to me.’
Lemon ploughed on: ‘It depends. It’s just like, prime. If you look it up. If you Google ‘What is a woman in her prime,’ it’ll say 20s, 30s, 40s.
‘I’m not saying I agree with that. So, I think she has to be careful about saying that, you know, politicians are in their prime.’
Harlow then asked: ‘Are you talking about prime for, like, childbearing? Or are you talking about prime for being president?’
‘Don’t shoot the messenger, I’m just saying what the facts are,’ Lemon responded. ‘Google it. Everybody at home, when is a woman in her prime? It says 20s, 30s and 40s.’
Lemon used to have his own show Don Lemon Tonight, before Licht canceled it and created the new morning show
He traveled to Beverly Hills with his partner Tim Malone for the Grammys after reports of the row with Collins
‘I’m just saying Nikki Haley should be careful about saying that politics are not in their prime, and they need to be in their prime when they serve.
‘She would not be in her prime according to Google or whatever it is.’
Throughout the interaction, Lemon directed all of his comments to Harlow, while Collins remained out of the fray.
Later during the show when CNN podcast host Audie Cornish – who has today replaced him – joined and questioned Lemon’s point, he refused to back down.
Cornish said: ‘The idea of prime that you Google on the internet, that’s about sexual and reproductive prime, that’s not actually about mental health and aging.
‘No one is going look at Nikki Haley and say, ‘is she in her prime or not?”
Lemon responded, ‘Eh, I don’t know.’
Collins had her own run-in with her fellow host, who was seen on camera repeatedly interrupting her throughout the show on December 8.
Collins, 30, the youngest chief White House Correspondent on CNN, reportedly wants to be on set with the anchor ‘as little as possible’ after the incident. Pictured: Lemon with co-stars Poppy Harlow and Kaitlan Collins at an NBA game
Lemon allegedly made Collins run from the set in tears on after he berated her in front of the television crew and their other co-host.
After that, he was reportedly told to take a day to ‘cool off’ by boss Chris Licht but instead blew up on staffers after a company newsletter featured a story about his altercation with the White House Correspondent.
It seems as though he has been given the same advice following his ‘sexism row’, with little explanation being given as to his whereabouts on Friday morning.
Lemon went ‘ballistic’ at staffers who highlighted the spat with Collins, according to RadarOnline – with the host claiming she ‘interrupted him’ during a December broadcast.
Following the initial spat, Lemon traveled to Beverly Hills with his partner Tim Malone, for the Grammys.
The pair traveled from New York to Los Angeles for the Grammys and seemed to be enjoying the sunshine in the Golden State – ignoring the drama unfolding at home.
Collins, 30, the youngest chief White House Correspondent in the history of CNN, reportedly wants to be on set with the anchor ‘as little as possible’ after the incident.
The argument took place off-camera on December 8, which left Collins ‘visibly upset’ and other members of staff ‘shaken ‘by his outburst.
Both Collins and Lemon are both represented by agent Jay Sures, with their fellow anchor Poppy Harlow witnessing the initial heated exchange.
Collins and Lemon have starred alongside each other on the show since it started three months ago.
The pair, along with Harlow, used to arrive to red carpets and events as a unit but now appear to arrive separately and seem to want to stay far away from each other.
While it’s unclear whether Collins intentionally interrupted Lemon, one source referred to him as ‘bossy’ and ‘difficult to work with.’
A rep from CNN declined to comment on the incident but said: ‘In just three months, these anchors have created a compelling morning show that breaks news and drives the conversation.’
Since the incident in December, Lemon has been sent to Memphis and on other assignments, while Collins worked remotely from Washington DC on several occasions in January.
Lemon’s December blow-up isn’t the first wrong move he’s made while adjusting to sharing the limelight with his new colleagues.
A week prior he was shot down by Collins and Harlow after they accused him of mansplaining why the US men’s soccer team should get paid more – despite their lack of success.
He insisted that he was joking when he said that men were ‘more interesting to watch’- with the interaction making for awkward viewing.
CNN This Morning has suffered a ratings bomb and early last month experienced its least-viewed week since launch, averaging just over 330,000 viewers.
Source: | This article originally belongs to Dailymail.co.uk