CNN Offers Tempered Defense Of 'Lightning Rod' Anchor Don Lemon Amid Misogyny Scandal

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Apr. 11 2023, Published 3:00 p.m. ET

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Even though Don Lemon has been in hot water as of late — he was recently called out for being rude to his producers and his "diva-like" behavior in an expose — CNN's CEO Chris Licht defended the star during the Semafor Media Summit.

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When Licht was asked about how he navigates Lemon, 57, getting all this media attention, he made a quick remark about the drama and then started talking about something else.

"Don Lemon is a lightning rod because he really came to prominence during an era where that was celebrated and encouraged in prime time,” he said. “CNN has moved on from that and Don has moved on from that."

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As OK! previously reported, the TV personality has been making headlines for saying inappropriate things while on-air.

In February, he called out Nikki Haley once it was revealed she would be running for president in 2024.

"She [Haley] says people, you know, politicians are something if not in their prime. Nikki Haley isn't in her prime, sorry," he stated on Thursday, February 16. "A woman is considered to be in their prime in 20s and 30s and maybe 40s."

"I’m just saying what the facts are. Google it," Lemon replied. "Everybody at home, when is woman in her prime, it says 20s, 30s and 40s. And I’m just saying should be careful about saying that politicians are not in their prime and they need to be in prime when they serve. Because she wouldn't be in her prime."

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As a result, Lemon's co-anchors were upset with him, resulting in him taking a few days off before he came back to apologize. "A woman’s age doesn't define her either personally or professionally," he later said in a statement. "I have countless women in my life who prove that every day."

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Last week, it was revealed that Lemon called one of his producers fat to her face and mocked Nancy Grace on-air.

“That was the beginning of when you knew that Don was kind of volatile and didn’t say good things about women,” an insider said of the Grace incident.

To make matters worse, Lemon insulted comedian Jon Stewart when he thought his microphone was off. "He gets a lot of leeway with the comedian thing, though," Lemon said before attempting to recover from the awkward moment.


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