Anchor Don Lemon apparently stepped in it on Thursday morning when he argued — against “CNN This Morning” co-hosts Poppy Harlow and Kaitlan Collins — in defense of the U.S. men’s soccer team making more money than the women’s team.
Collins and Harlow argued that because the women’s team had traditionally done better in international competition, they should be paid accordingly. Lemon agreed that the members of the women’s team should be paid more than they were, but countered that the men were paid more because more people were interested in watching them play — and therefore willing to shell out more money for tickets and merchandise.
Don Lemon raises legitimate points here, and gets tag-teamed for his trouble. pic.twitter.com/F8F8IYMHl7
— Virginia Kruta (@VAKruta) December 1, 2022
Don Lemon leaves his CNN colleagues perplexed by stating the obvious about pay in US soccer:
“Everyone’s going to hate me … I’m not sexist…the men’s team makes more money, the men should get more money.” pic.twitter.com/iZiwSHVBhd
— TheBlaze (@theblaze) December 1, 2022
Harlow began by suggesting that media and Big Tech were somehow responsible for suppressing public access to the women’s team, saying, “Until big media companies, Big Tech companies, advertisers, invest and put them on their airwaves more —”
“I understand what you’re saying,” Lemon interjected, but Harlow continued.
“No-no-no-no-no! And allow people to see it more and gain more fans, then you will push toward more equality,” she asserted, arguing that more visibility would make people like women’s soccer more. “But if they are blocked in so many ways and not invested in as much —”
“You guys are — I’m not sexist,” Lemon tried again.
“I know you’re not!” Harlow agreed. “But they don’t even have a shot.”
“I grew up the only boy in a family of all women, I understand what you’re saying,” Lemon said, pivoting to make his point. “But not everybody, honestly, has the same skill. Not everybody has the same interest in the sport. I think the women should be paid more, I do. But if the men —”
“You’re right that not everyone has the same skills because the women are better skilled,” Collins interrupted, prompting Harlow to respond: “Mic drop.”
Lemon continued, however, noting that the women were certainly very skilled in competition — against other women. “But if the women played the men, they wouldn’t be winning the way that they win.”
“Why?? What??!!” Harlow was clearly taken aback by Lemon’s statement. “I’m not going to get into that argument.”
Following a lawsuit demanding equal pay, the U.S. Women’s National Team will receive half of the prize money the U.S. Men’s National Team brings home from the ongoing World Cup, including some $6.5 million from their advancement into the Round of 16.