Don Lemon’s firing from CNN was in part due to his very belligerent interview last week with Republican presidential nominee Vivek Ramaswamy, according to reports — with insiders saying Lemon was removed to allow for a rethink of the struggling morning show, and warned that Lemon seems ready to sue.
Lemon, 57, has spent the last 17 years at CNN and was one of their most recognizable stars, reportedly making $4 million a year.
He was moved from his primetime slot to co-host a new show, CNN This Morning, which launched on November 1, but has not gained a foothold.
Fit for an evening political show, Lemon’s belligerent style often caught the eye of early morning viewers, and he made a number of significant sexist blunders.
Don Lemon was fired by CNN on Monday. His combative April 19 interview with Republican presidential nominee Vivek Ramaswamy was said to have been a factor in his resignation
Don Lemon, 57, was fired by CNN on Monday after 17 years with the network
Don Lemon defends his claim that women over 40 are ‘past their peak’
CNN This Morning co-host Don Lemon gets defensive about his stance that no one really wants to watch women’s soccer
He claimed Republican presidential nominee Nikki Haley, 51, “isn’t in her prime”; argued that the U.S. men’s national soccer team was more attractive to watch than the much more successful women’s team, justifying the pay gap; and on April 5 was the subject of a cheeky profile in Variety who accused him of decades of “disturbing treatment of women and unprofessional antics.”
He was reprimanded by new boss Chris Licht, who took over in May 2022, and required to undergo training.
Still, his aggressive style persisted, and on April 19 he crossed swords with Ramaswamy over slavery, the civil war and the Second Amendment.
His co-host, Poppy Harlow, glazed over and checked her smartphone as Lemon and Ramaswamy attacked each other.
Sources told The New York Times that the meeting “exasperated several CNN leaders.”
“There were rumors within CNN that they were revamping the morning show and Lemon’s firing may have been part of that,” a source told DailyMail.com.
“But Don may have blown it all up when he tweeted the news.”
Lemon said on Twitter that he was “stunned” by his firing.
He appeared on the broadcast Monday morning as usual and seemed unconcerned when he signed off.
Lemon waves goodbye Monday at the end of CNN This Morning — a moment that would prove to be his last gig as CNN anchor after 17 years with the network
Don Lemon tweeted his outrage that he was fired from CNN Monday afternoon
Lemon then broke the news on Twitter, saying his agent informed him he was being fired.
“I’m stunned,” Lemon wrote.
“After 17 years at CNN, I would have thought someone in management would have had the decency to tell me directly.”
He added: “It is clear that there are bigger problems at play.”
CNN refuted Lemon’s account in a tweet, calling it “inaccurate.”
The network said he was offered the chance to meet with management, but “released a statement on Twitter instead.”
Licht said the network and Lemon have “parted ways.”
“Don will forever be part of the CNN family and we thank him for his contributions over the past 17 years,” the statement said.
“We wish him well and will encourage him in his future endeavours.”
CNN CEO Chris Licht confirmed Don Lemon’s resignation on Monday
Still, insiders told DailyMail.com that the angry tone of Lemon’s tweet suggested he was likely to sue.
“It’s unclear why he’s been fired now,” the source said.
And the flammable behavior happened before today.
It will be interesting to see what he does next. What does he mean by “greater forces at play”?
“It sounds like he’s going to sue.”
Lemon has enlisted aggressive Hollywood trial attorney Bryan Freedman to handle his severance pay.
His contract with CNN runs until 2026, according to two people who spoke to The New York Times.
Lemon’s former primetime colleague Chris Cuomo, who was fired in December 2021, is currently suing for damages, with reports ranging from $18 million to $125 million.
He argued in March last year that his career has incurred more than $125 million in damages, saying it would have cost him nearly $15 million in salary that he would have earned had he served out his last contract.
Lemon told a staff meeting in February 2022 that he believed Cuomo should not receive a payout, arguing that he had violated journalistic ethics.
The best of the worst from Don Lemon
Was Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 swallowed by a black hole? – While reporting on the missing Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 in 2014, Don Lemon asked a panel of experts if it was possible that the Boeing jet had been swallowed by a black hole:
“People say to me, why don’t you talk about the possibility – and I’m just saying it – that something strange happened to this plane, something beyond our understanding?” he asked.
“What if it was something we don’t really understand? A lot of people have been asking about that, about black holes and stuff, and stuff, and all these conspiracy theories,” he continued, adding comparisons to the Bermuda Triangle and the television program Lost.
U.S. Department of Transportation Inspector General Mary Schiavo said the theories were unlikely:
‘Well it is. A small black hole would suck up our entire universe, so we know it’s not. The Bermuda Triangle is often weather. And Lost is a TV show,’ she said.
Don Lemon argues whether a missing jet plane was sucked into a black hole
Why didn’t you just bite his penis? – During an interview with Joan Tarshis, Bill Cosby’s accuser, Lemon asked her why she didn’t stop him from raping her by biting his penis:
“You know, there are ways not to have oral sex if you don’t feel like it,” he said.
“I was a little stoned at the time, and to be honest it didn’t even cross my mind. Now I wish it were,” Tashis said.
‘Right. Means using teeth, right?’ Lemon asked, “As a weapon.”
“Ow,” Tashis said, “no, I didn’t think of that.”
Pull up your pants, black people Speaking in 2013 about Bill O’Reilly’s controversial comments that unmarried black women should stop having children and inner-city schools should enforce discipline, Lemon argued that the Fox News host’s plans to uplifting people was not as daring as it should be .
“I don’t think he goes far enough,” Lemon said. “Walking around with your ass showing your underwear is not okay. In fact, it comes from prison. When they take belts from prisoners so they can’t make a weapon. And then it evolved into what role each prisoner would have during man-on-man prison sex.”
Lemon went on to explain that black people should stop using the N word and refrain from littering.