Don Lemon Returns to 'CNN This Morning', Speaks out Amid Sexism Controversy

Don Lemon again apologized for his sexist comments made last week on CNN This Morning as he returned to the morning show on Wednesday. Nearly a week after stirring backlash for comments he made about Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley being "past her prime," he issued yet another apology.

About 25 minutes before the show's broadcast kicked off at 6 a.m. ET, Lemon took to Twitter. "I appreciate this opportunity to be back on CNN This Morning today," he wrote. "To my network, my colleagues and our incredible audience – I'm sorry. I've heard you. I'm learning from you, and I'm committed to doing better. See you soon." On the broadcast, he got down to business right away, diving into the news of President Joe Biden's recent visit to Ukraine.

Lemon, 56, was discussing politicians' ages during last Thursday's episode of CNN This Morning with his co-hosts Poppy Harlow, 40, and Kaitlan Collins, 30. "This whole talk about age makes me uncomfortable," Lemon said, alluding to comments that Haley, 51, has made suggesting politicians over the age of 75 should be forced to take mental competency tests. "I think it's the wrong road to go down."

He continued, "She says... politicians are not in their prime. Nikki Haley isn't in her prime. Sorry. A woman is considered to be in their prime in 20s and 30s and maybe 40s." When hit with pushback by Harlow, Lemon responded, "That's not according to me. ... If you Google 'When is a woman in her prime,' it'll say 20s, 30s and 40s. I don't necessarily – I'm not saying I agree with that."

Backlash came quickly, as did an apology from Lemon. "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 tweeted at the time. "A woman's age doesn't define her either personally or professionally. I have countless women in my life who prove that every day."

He did not appear on the show during the next three broadcasts. The New York Times reports that CNN CEO Chris Licht chastised Lemon during an editorial phone call on Friday, calling his remarks "upsetting, unacceptable and unfair" as well as a "huge distraction."

The New York Post reports that Lemon apologized in the call with his colleagues around 9 a.m. on Friday. "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," Lemon reportedly said on the call. "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."