Don Lemon to Undergo 'Formal Training' After Sexist Comment

Don Lemon will return to CNN This Morning on Wednesday after undergoing "formal training," CNN CEO Chris Licht wrote in a staff memo late Monday. Lemon, 56, said former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley was "not in her prime" during the Feb. 16 broadcast, when he and co-anchors Poppy Harlow and Kaitlan Collins were discussing the 2024 Republican presidential candidate's call for politicians over 75 to take "mental competency" tests. Lemon missed the Feb. 17 show and skipped Monday as well.

"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. CNN declined to comment further and Lemon has not tweeted since posting an apology on Feb. 16.

Lemon's controversy started during the Feb. 16 CNN This Morning episode when the anchors discussed Haley's call for politicians over 75 to take a "mandatory mental competency" test. "Nikki Haley isn't in her prime, sorry," Lemon said at one point. "A woman is considered to be in their prime in 20s and 30s and maybe 40s. If you Google 'when is a woman in her prime,' it'll say 20s, 30s and 40s." Lemon's co-anchors tried to interrupt him, but he dug in his heels and stood by his comments.

Hours later, Lemon tweeted his first attempt at 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." Lemon had a pre-scheduled day off on Feb. 17, but he called into the daily editorial call to apologize to co-workers.

Lemon also missed Monday's broadcast. Sources told THR that he decided to take Presidents Day off. Meanwhile, sources told The Daily Beast there are discussions about Lemon's long-term future with CNN. "There are ongoing conversations about Don's future," the source said. "He is a constant distraction."