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CNN responded to former co-host Don Lemon’s statement on Monday — announcing that he had been terminated without a chance to speak to management — by saying that his claims were false.
“Don Lemon’s statement about this morning’s events is inaccurate,” CNN Communications said in a statement. “He was offered an opportunity to meet with management but instead released a statement on Twitter.”
Don Lemon’s statement about this morning’s events is inaccurate. He was offered an opportunity to meet with management but instead released a statement on Twitter.
— CNN Communications (@CNNPR) April 24, 2023
Lemon had claimed in a statement that his agent informed him that he had been terminated, adding: “After 17 years at CNN I would have thought that someone in management would have had the decency to tell me directly.”
“At no time was I ever given any indication that I would not be able to continue to do the work I have loved at the network,” he continued. “It is clear that there are some larger issues at play. With that said, I want to thank my colleagues and the many teams I have worked with for an incredible run.”
“They are the most talented journalists in the business, and I wish them all the best,” he added.
CNN CEO Chris Licht later confirmed in a statement that the network had parted ways with Lemon.
“Don will forever be a 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 be cheering him on in his future endeavors. CNN This Morning has been on the air for nearly six months, and we are committed to its success.”
Lemon got into trouble earlier this year after a spat with the two female co-hosts who he worked with on “CNN This Morning.” He was also criticized for saying that 51-year-old Nikki Haley was “past her prime.”
Variety reported that Lemon has faced allegations dating back as far as 2008 that he has not treated women well in the workplace.
The first alleged incident began in 2008 when he was hosting CNN’s “Live From” with Kyra Phillips. Tensions between the two had increased “for months” before reaching a boiling point when Phillips got an assignment that Lemon wanted.
Lemon “vented his disappointment at being passed over by tearing up pictures and notes on top of and inside Phillips’ desk in the news pod they shared,” the report said, according to sources who worked at CNN at the time.
The report said that after Phillips returned from the assignment, she received a text message from an anonymous number that said, “Now you’ve crossed the line, and you’re going to pay for it.” The messages were later “traced back to Lemon,” the report said.
Lemon called one of the female producers fat to her face, the report alleged. He also reportedly mocked then-CNN anchor Nancy Grace while on air, which supposedly offended some at the network.
Lemon also reportedly had issues with then-CNN anchor Soledad O’Brien after she was named as host of the network’s “Black in America” docuseries. Lemon reportedly said during an editorial call that she was not black.
O’Brien told Variety, “Don has long had a habit of saying idiotic and inaccurate things, so it sounds pretty on brand for him.”
The report said that former colleagues complained about him annoying them with “diva-like behavior.”
One woman that CNN spoke to complained that the network quit putting her on air after she criticized Lemon while another woman claimed that Lemon changed over time into someone who “likes fame, likes power. He was no longer the same person.”