CNN has fired Don Lemon, the now-former anchor for the cable news network announced Monday morning.
Lemon tweeted that he was “stunned” at being told of his termination from the network for which he’s worked for nearly two decades.
“I was informed this morning by my agent that I have been terminated by CNN. I am stunned,” Lemon wrote.
He went on to say that CNN management did not have “the decency to tell me directly.”
Somewhat cryptically, Lemon added about CNN: “It is clear that there are some larger issues at play.”
CNN’s internal memo to employees announced the news slightly differently from how Lemon did.
“CNN and Don have parted ways,” the memo said, making it appear as though it was a mutual decision. “Don will forever be a part of the CNN family.”
While there was no reason provided for Lemon’s termination, it came after unverified reports that he harassed women co-workers.
Lemon’s on-air commentary came under heavy scrutiny in February during a conversation about the ages of presidential candidates. In particular, Lemon said Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley was not in her “prime.” He went on to tell his two women co-hosts that “a woman is considered to be in her prime in her 20s and 30s and maybe 40s.”
That prompted a public rebuke from CNN after which Lemon said he would undergo sensitivity training.
But after a Variety report from earlier this month accused Lemon of sending “malicious texts, mocking female co-workers and ‘diva-like behavior,'” it seemed like it was only a matter of time before his time at CNN ended.
CNN’s CEO has made no secret of how he feels about Lemon.
While speaking at a conference this month, CNN CEO Chris Licht suggested that the gregarious on-air persona that became Lemon’s signature was a thing of the past.
“Don Lemon is a lightning rod because he really came to prominence during an era where that was celebrated and encouraged in prime time,” Licht said at the Semafor Media Summit. “CNN has moved on from that and Don has moved on from that.”
Famous last words.
CNN fired Lemon just days after the New York Post reported that the network denied an opportunity for celebrated legal analyst Laura Coates to have a full-time job there in favor of a white woman anchor.
Coates, like Lemon, is Black.
The news that Lemon was fired came less than an hour after the unrelated report that Fox News had parted ways with conservative media personality Tucker Carlton.
This is a developing story that will be updated as additional information becomes available.
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