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Politicos are pressing CNN to fire Don Lemon over concerns about the host’s possible connection to “Empire” star Jussie Smollett’s allegedly orchestrated, anti-gay, anti-black hate crime hoax following testimony from the actor this week.
As reported by The Daily Wire, Smollett, who is facing up to three years behind bars for allegedly lying to police, testified under oath on Monday that he did not hand his phone over to authorities following the alleged attack in part due to text messages he received from Lemon, apparently tipping him off about the officers’ skepticism of the alleged hate crime:
Former “Empire” star Jussie Smollett testified Monday that he did not immediately hand over his cell phone to authorities partly because CNN’s Don Lemon texted him saying that the Chicago police did not believe his claims that two men attacked him and hurled racial and homophobic epithets at the gay black actor.
… In testimony, Smollett partly clarified why he did not initially give over his phone by stating that “he declined to give his phone to CPD in part because earlier he’d gotten a text from Don Lemon ‘saying he’d gotten a text from CPD saying they don’t believe me,’” according to Chicago Tribune reporter Megan Crepeau.
Crepeau noted that Smollett said he also had a private photo on the device, as well as contact information for “my boss, everybody, my mom, my family, my siblings, there are extremely important activists in my phone, extremely important executives and actors and actresses and singers.”
It is unclear what the text message from Don Lemon allegedly said.
The social media backlash to the revelation was swift, as highlighted by Newsweek.
“After Jussie Smollett’s testimony that Don Lemon tipped him off to the Chicago PD not believing his story… he should be the next to get tanked from CNN,” politico and author Tim Young posted to Twitter.
After Jussie Smollett's testimony that Don Lemon tipped him off to the Chicago PD not believing his story… he should be the next to get tanked from CNN…
— Tim Young (@TimRunsHisMouth) December 7, 2021
“Jussie Smollett has admitted that CNN anchor Don Lemon warned him that police were suspicious of his story. CNN does not have journalists. It has activists,” conservative Carmine Sabia posted. “Time for [Don Lemon] to follow [Chris Cuomo].”
— Carmine Sabia (@CarmineSabia) December 7, 2021
Author Nick Adams commented, “If Don Lemon tipped off Jussie Smollett about police investigating the hate crime hoax, CNN should fire him immediately!”
If Don Lemon tipped off Jussie Smollett about police investigating the hate crime hoax, CNN should fire him immediately!
— Nick Adams (@NickAdamsinUSA) December 7, 2021
“More activism by an ‘anchor’ at CNN,” wrote Joe Concha, media columnist at The Hill. “The network needs to now address this publicly as well. These texts from Lemon to Smollett came during an active high-profile investigation. CNN mum thus far.”
More activism by an “anchor” at CNN. The network needs to now address this publicly as well. These texts from Lemon to Smollett came during an active high-profile investigation. CNN mum thus far. https://t.co/2sWSMeM5bD
— Joe Concha (@JoeConchaTV) December 7, 2021
“Today we found out Don Lemon was helping Jussie obstruct justice,” journalist Jack Posobiec said.
Today we found out Don Lemon was helping Jussie obstruct justice https://t.co/DX7QkltOMP
— Jack Posobiec 🇺🇸 (@JackPosobiec) December 7, 2021