CNN’s embattled anchor Don Lemon suffered another misstep on Monday when he was caught criticizing Jon Stewart during a heated mic moment.
On his morning show, Lemon delivered a clip of Jon Stewart interviewing US Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks, in which Stewart confronted the official about what he called a severe waste of the $850 million Department of Defense budget.
Hicks objected to Stewart’s description of the case, replying, ‘I can’t tell how much $850 billion for a department means the rank and file is still in the food stamps. For me, this is corruption.
As the video fades out, Lemon can be heard on his microphone saying, “He’s got a lot of leeway with the comedy thing, though.” It appears that Lemon was chatting with his anchors about Stewart during the time the segment ran.
CNN anchor Don Lemon was caught on a hot microphone insulting Jon Stewart during the Monday morning broadcast of his struggling show.
After a few seconds of silence, Lemon backtracked to say that Stewart is much more than a stand-up comedian, a point he proceeds to repeat several times.
In addition to being a comedian, over the years Stewart has become a staunch advocate for American soldiers and first responders.
He has lobbied lawmakers in Washington several times on issues such as benefits for 9/11 first responders and health care coverage for service members exposed to burns.
When Lemon realized what had happened, he tried damage control of the situation by saying, “We were just discussing that Jon Stewart is so much more than a comedian.” He is a thought leader.
Lemony Poppy Harlow and Kaitlan Collins hosts added that Stewart, who currently hosts The Problem on Apple TV+, “needs no introduction” due to his prolific advocacy for veterans’ rights.
“Yeah, I’d say comedian and TV host, it’s so much more than that,” Lemon said. I don’t even know if I need to qualify Jon Stewart as such. But a good interview there.
Lemon has been a topic and cause of great stress at CNN recently, having, over the past several months, made numerous on-air comments that sparked outrage behind the scenes, as well as reported bad behavior on-air.
Recently, the former primetime talent was accused by women at the network of misogynistic behavior and “disrespect” towards several cast members.
The allegations this time date back to 2008 – years before he was accused of sexism towards Republican nominee Nikki Haley when she was not in her prime.
Sources tell Variety that Lemon, 57, was rude to Nancy Grace on air and Soledad O’Brien during an editorial meeting attended by nearly 30 employees.
Jon Stewart has earned a reputation, in addition to being a comedian, for standing up for service members and first responders
“As fast as you can set a rule, Don will bend it,” a senior executive told Variety at the time.
He also clashed several times with former White House correspondent and current co-host Caitlan Collins on live television.
The couple repeatedly spoke out at each other and eventually, it was reported that their clash led to a catfight during which Lemon screamed at Collins on Dec. 8.
He then reportedly asked his boss Chris Licht to take a day to “cool off”, but instead exploded at the staff after a company newsletter featured a story about his altercation with Collins.
Since the December incident, Lemon has been posted to Memphis and on other assignments, while Collins has worked remotely from Washington, D.C. on several occasions in January.
He was also forced to undergo “formal training” after he made sexist comments about 2024 presidential candidate Nikki Haley, 51, after she became over-famous.
Following this comment, Lemon was absent from the show for three consecutive days, with insiders saying he realizes he is on his “last warning.”
Licht, who criticized Lemmon’s remarks, sent a note to the staff after the incident saying that Lemmon had agreed to take part in the training.
Lemon is in hot water at CNN: Sources recently told Variety that Lemon was rude to Nancy Grace on air, and Soledad O’Brien during an editorial meeting attended by nearly 30 employees.
Lemon’s actions towards women come across, especially after he yelled at Caitlan Collins off the air for interrupting him on Dec. 8
According to a memo sent to staff, Licht said, “I sat down with Don and had a candid and meaningful conversation.
He has agreed to participate in formal training, as well as continue to listen and learn. We take this situation very seriously.
“It is important to me that CNN balances accountability with fostering a culture where people can own and learn and grow from their mistakes.”
Lemon returned to the show, but didn’t acknowledge the backlash he faced live — instead issuing a humiliating apology online moments before the show aired.
Licht previously said the remarks were “disturbing, unacceptable, unfair to his co-hosts, and ultimately a huge distraction from the great work of this organization” during an opening call.