Don Lemon's Apology to CNN Staff Didn't Go Well

CNN anchor Don Lemon apologized on Friday for remarks about Republican politician Nikki Haley that were deemed sexist and ageist by some. Lemon posted about the comments on Twitter and he also apologized to his colleagues on an editorial conference call with CNN staff, according to a report by The Daily Beast. So far, it looks like his apology was not well-received by his biggest critics.

Some accused Lemon of sexism and ageism after Thursday's episode of CNN This Morning. He and his co-anchors were discussing Haley's recent call for "mandator mental competency tests" for all politicians over the age of 75, and Lemon 50-year-old Haley "isn't in her prime" either. On Friday morning's call, he told his colleagues: "I'm sorry. I didn'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," Lemon went on. "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."

Still, Lemon's apology reportedly disappointed several colleagues when he said: "I'm going to continue being who I am." A senior staffer told The Daily Beast: "This is great, but it's our viewers who deserve an apology." Lemon did address the public on Twitter with a similar apology, though most of the top responses to that tweet are skeptical at best.

CNN CEO Chris Licht chimed in on the call as well, saying that Lemon's comments were "upsetting, unacceptable, and unfair to his co-hosts, and ultimately a huge distraction to the great work of this organization." For those catching up, Haley announced that she will be running for the Republican Party nomination for president in 2024, and attacked some of her rivals on the basis of their age. She suggested that there should be a system of testing of "mental competency" for elected officials past a certain age.

Lemon scoffed at this idea on Thursday morning. He said: "This whole talk about age makes me uncomfortable. I think it's the wrong road to go down. She says people, you know, politicians are suddenly not in their prime. Nikki Haley isn't in her prime. Sorry, when a woman is in their prime in 20s and 30s and maybe 40s."

Lemon's co-host Poppy Harlow pressed him, asking: Are you talking about 'prime' for, like, childbearing? Or are you talking about prime for being president?" Lemon answered: "Don't shoot the messenger, I'm just saying what the facts are. Google it. Everybody at home, when is a woman in her prime? It says 20s, 30s and 40s. I'm just saying Nikki Haley should careful about saying that politicians 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."