Don Lemon's Sexist Remarks Lost CNN a Major Interview

Don Lemon may have prevented CNN from landing a significant interview. As a result of the controversial CNN anchor's widely criticized sexist comments about former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, Long Island congressman George Santos canceled an exclusive sit-down with him, reported the New York Post. Instead, Santos chose to be interviewed by only Post columnist and commentator Piers Morgan. "We heard the comments, and it was in very poor taste, and we did not wish to do a sit-down with someone who could speak ill of women in that regard," a spokesperson for the New York Republican told the Daily Mail. "It shouldn't matter if it's a Republican or Democratic woman running for public office, but we're not going to sit down with someone who would say such horrible things. "I don't think he should be rewarded for bad behavior," the rep added.

Morgan's comment to The Post on Feb. 20 said he was "delighted that Congressman Santos recognized I'm the news anchor still in his prime enough to warrant the big exclusive." Santos confessed during his interview on Piers Morgan Uncensored that "I'm a terrible liar," presumably as a way of explaining the numerous falsehoods he has told in the past. "It wasn't about tricking people," Santos said. "This was about getting accepted by the party here locally." On the Lemon snub, Santos said he had "no knowledge of this" and directed a Post reporter to his communications director, who did not respond immediately.

Lemon was forced to apologize over his on-air comments about Haley, 51, who had just announced she was running for president at the time. He made the remarks on the show CNN This Morning on Feb. 23 and told co-hosts Poppy Harlow and Kaitlan Collins that "a woman is considered to be in her prime in her 20s, 30s and maybe 40s," and Haley "isn't in her prime." After the episode was broadcast, he took to Twitter to state that "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."

After being absent from the show, Licht wrote in a staff memo late Monday that Lemon would return to CNN This Morning on Wednesday after undergoing "formal training. "I sat down with Don and had a frank and meaningful conversation. He has agreed to participate in formal training, as well as continuing to listen and learn. We take this situation very seriously," Licht wrote in a memo obtained by The Hollywood Reporter. Licht declined to go into further details about what the "formal training" entails. "It is important to me that CNN balances accountability with fostering a culture in which people can own, learn and grow from their mistakes. To that end, Don will return to CNN This Morning on Wednesday," Licht continued. Licht reportedly said Friday that Lemon's comment about Haley was "upsetting, unacceptable, and unfair to his co-hosts, and ultimately a huge distraction to the great work of this organization."