Michelle Yeoh Seemingly Shades Don Lemon During Best Actress Oscar Acceptance Speech
Michelle Yeoh won her first Oscar on Sunday night at the age of 60, and many viewers believe she threw shade at CNN anchor Don Lemon in her acceptance speech. Yeoh addressed the audience in the theater and at home when she said: "ladies, don't let anybody tell you you are ever past your prime." Many took this as a reference to Lemon's recent controversial comments on CNN This Morning.
Lemon landed himself in hot water last month while reporting on Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley. His remarks there had a very specific context, as Haley was saying that her opponents in the election did not have the "mental competency" to hold the office, and Lemon quipped that 51-year-old Haley "isn't in her prime" either. In the conversation that followed Lemon made some controversial generalizations, ultimately leading to a public apology from him and the network. His comments struck a nerve as many took them to imply that women past "child-bearing age" no longer have any value to society.
Michelle Yeoh accepts her #Oscar for Best Actress: "For all the little boys and girls who look like me watching tonight, this is a beacon of hope and possibilities. This is proof that dreams do come true." https://t.co/ndiKiHfmID pic.twitter.com/pQN8nHDhCx— Variety (@Variety) March 13, 2023
Viewers rankled by those comments felt vindicated by Yeoh on Sunday night. She said: "For all the little boys and girls who look like me watching tonight, this is a beacon of hope and possibilities. This is proof that dreams do come true. And ladies, don't let anybody tell you you are ever past your prime. Never give up!"
Many commenters drew a connection between this speech and Lemon's comments, and some even suggested that it was intentional. Others wondered why Yeoh would use this moment to call out a cable news anchor, believing she was referencing a more general trend in the entertainment industry. The controversy inevitably led users to rehash the Lemon controversy as a whole. Here's a look at how the conversation played out.
Michelle Yeoh, "Ladies, don't let anyone tell you you are ever past your prime."
Just a little reminder for@donlemon about women past their "prime". pic.twitter.com/t5cbgu21GR— AskAubry 🦝 (@ask_aubry) March 14, 2023
Whether Yeoh was calling out Lemon or not, many fans were. Several people tagged Lemon and CNN in tweets about Yeoh's speech, making the connection explicit.prevnext
🎯— MissFedUp🖤🇺🇸🏳️🌈 (@Lulubobcat1) March 13, 2023
Many viewers thought that the connection to Lemon's comment was tenuous at best. They assumed that Yeoh was being more general than that.prevnext
Great acceptance speech and I cheered when she threw shade on @donlemon— Jim Kendall (@KendallCRE) March 13, 2023
CNN leaves out Michelle Yeoh's 'prime' jab at Don Lemon as anchor praises Asians winning big at the Oscars https://t.co/IueJpEtDEK— Joseph A. Wulfsohn (@JosephWulfsohn) March 14, 2023
While some news outlets covered the perceived connection to Lemon, viewers noted that CNN did not draw that connection when it reported on Yeoh's historic victory.prevnext
Anyone woman at any age in her life is in her prime! #womanarefierce #MichelleYeoh #oscars— C Emerson (@CEmersonTrio) March 13, 2023
Of course, many viewers simply enjoyed Yeoh's victory at face value and took the inspiration exactly as she said in her speech, without reading between the lines.prevnext
He caught a stray? Haha— I'm Not A Sailor I Just Cuss A lot (@haitianross83) March 13, 2023
No. I seriously doubt she was thinking of Don Lemon on one of the most important nights of her life. Hollywood is notorious for setting ridiculous expiration dates on women's careers. She's proof it's all nonsense.
Women from all walks of life regularly face age discrimination.— it's a new dawn, it's a new day, it's a new life.. (@Anewluemerges) March 13, 2023
Of all the conversations the Oscars could have started, many fans were surprised that it brought the Lemon argument back around.prevnext
"michelle yeoh took a dig at don lemon" i'm sorry michelle yeoh doesn't have any reason to know or care about don lemon be serious— victoria edel (@victoriaedel) March 13, 2023
I didn't even know who Don Lemon is (and BTW, is that even a real name?!)— Vera Mark (she/her) (@VeraMark2010) March 14, 2023
When I heard Michelle Yeoh nix the "past your prime" BS, I just thought: "YES, and thank you for saying it (and showing it) so clearly!"#MichelleYeoh #Oscars2023 https://t.co/sxZWd4PPkr
Some fans felt that it would be beneath Yeoh to make a comment about Lemon during one of the most triumphant moments of her life. They felt certain she was referring to the misogyny in Hollywood more generally.prevnext
Don lemon shaking in his boots after that comment from Oscar winner Michelle Yeoh— nick (@ognickyt) March 13, 2023
Whether Yeoh was referring to Lemon or not, fans speculated that Lemon must be feeling the heat once again as viewers interpreted it that way. So far the anchor has not said anything about Yeoh's speech or the social media fallout that followed.prev