Don Lemon Reportedly Removed From 'CNN This Morning' to Kick off Week
CNN This Morning co-anchor Don Lemon will reportedly not be on the show Monday morning. The anchor said former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley was "not in her prime" during Thursday's broadcast, shocking his female co-anchors, CNN staff, and viewers at home. Lemon, 56, apologized on Twitter, then apologized to CNN staff on Friday. He was not on the show Friday, although he had a previously scheduled day off.
Lemon will not be on CNN This Morning Monday morning while top CNN executives continue debating his future, two sources told The Daily Beast Sunday. A new on-air lineup sent around Sunday afternoon showed Poppy Harlow and Sara Sidner will anchor from New York, while Kaitalan Collins will be in Poland. A previous copy of the CNN anchor schedule reportedly included Lemon.
"There are ongoing conversations about Don's future," a source told The Daily Beast. "He is a constant distraction." CNN did not comment. When The Daily Beast called Lemon's agent, they hung up and refused to answer.
During CNN This Morning on Thursday, Lemon, Harlow, and Collins were discussing Haley's call for all politicians over 75 to take a "mandatory mental competency" test. When Haley, 51, announced her run for the Republican presidential nomination, she said America was "not past our prime," but "our politicians are past theirs." This led to Lemon suggesting Haley was "not in her prime" because "when a woman is in their prime in their 20s and 30s and maybe 40s." Harlow tried to jump in, but Lemon stood by his comments repeatedly.
Hours later, Lemon tweeted an apology. "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," he wrote. "A woman's age doesn't define her either personally or professionally. I have countless women in my life who prove that every day."
On Friday, CNN CEO Chris Licht was in the control room for CNN Ths Morning, reports The Daily Beast. Lemon's remarks were "upsetting, unacceptable, and unfair to his co-hosts, and ultimately a huge distraction to the great work of this organization," Licht told CNN staff during his daily call.
Although Lemon was not on the show due to a scheduled break, he was on the call as well and apologized to his colleagues. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to hurt anyone. I did not mean to offend anyone," he reportedly said. "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," Lemon continued. "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."
The call reportedly did not go over well with female CNN employees. At one point, Lemon said he was "going to continue to be who I am," which frustrated many. "This is great, but it's our viewers who deserve an apology," a CNN staffer told The Daily Beast.0comments