Don Lemon WON’T be on CNN’s Monday breakfast show because he’s taking surprise extended holiday in Miami Beach after sexist Nikki Haley remarks: Bosses hold ‘conversations about his future’
Don Lemon will not appear on CNN This Morning Monday because he’s taking the President’s Day holiday off work following his controversial comments about Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley being ‘past her prime.’ The 56-year-old anchor was set to be back on the show today with co-hosts Poppy Harlow and Kaitlan Collins — but opted to take the holiday, CNN spokesperson Matt Dornic told The New York Post in an email.
Lemon (pictured) came under fire when he made ‘sexist’ comments on Thursday’s show when discussing Haley’s suggestion that politicians 75 and older should face mental competency tests. CNN’s Chairman Chris Licht slammed Lemon’s remarks as ‘upsetting, unacceptable and unfair to his co-hosts, and ultimately a huge distraction to the great work of this organization.’ Lemon, whose absence from the show was first reported by The Daily Beast, was also not on the show on Friday, but joined a CNN editorial call from Miami where he apologized to staff for his comments.
Dornic wrote in an email on Sunday: ‘I thought he was coming back [Monday] but he is taking the holiday.’ The show will be anchored by Harlow (pictured right) and Sara Sidner in New York with Collins (pictured left) in Poland for President Joe Biden’s visit. But Lemon’s future at CNN seems to be hanging on by a thread. ‘There are ongoing conversations about Don’s future,’ a person familiar with the matter told Confider. ‘He is a constant distraction.’ Lemon’s comments reportedly left many staff unimpressed, and angered many viewers when he offered his opinion about when he believes a woman is in her prime.
‘Nikki Haley isn’t in her prime, sorry,’ he had said on the show. ‘A woman is considered to be in their prime in 20s and 30s and maybe 40s,’ Lemon said. But the CNN host was spotted in Miami on Friday washing off the criticism by relaxing with his partner Tim Mahone at $2,000-a night luxury beach resort Faena. Lemon was replaced for the day by Audie Cornish, as the show avoided acknowledging the comments he made the day before despite rising calls for him to be squeezed out.
‘His remarks were upsetting, unacceptable, and unfair to his co-hosts, and ultimately a huge distraction to the great work of this organization,’ Licht (pictured) told staffers on Friday morning, according to a readout of the call obtained by Confider. Lemon said on the call: ‘I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to hurt anyone. I did not mean to offend anyone.’
But according to RadarOnline.com, Lemon’s co-workers have slammed him for having a ‘colossal ego’ and believe he’s plotting to jump ship. ‘He has a colossal ego and he’s the kind of person who goes around saying he’s not going to take the fall for his show flopping, it’s not his fault and the network’s tanking, and they shouldn’t have pushed him out of his primetime slot,’ an inside told RadarOnline. ‘The ratings are way down, the new boss is implementing tough new rules, and no one is happy. All these people were pampered with perks and pats on the back until now and all of a sudden Don, Wolf Blitzer and others are at a point of ‘yikes, we’re in trouble,’ the insider added. Pictured: Don Lemon relaxes on the beach in Miami.
Tensions at the network have continued to rise since Licht arrived and insiders believe Lemon — and other top anchors — know they could be ousted if ratings don’t improve. ‘Don still thinks very highly of himself and he’s continuing to put feelers out elsewhere, though it’s going to be a tough sell,’ the insider said. ‘Nobody’s going to want Don or any of his miserable co-workers with those bad ratings trailing after them.’ Last week, insiders told DailyMail.com that Lemon is ‘rude, self-righteous and clearly sexist,’ adding that ‘his apology meant nothing.’ They said: ‘Don has been skating on thin ice for so long and many wanted him fired in December when he freaked out on Kaitlin Collins for no reason. She was in tears and it was so inappropriate.’
The insiders continued: ‘Regardless of his political affiliation, his comments that Nikki Haley being past her prime were disgusting. Poppy was fuming, as she should be, and still is. He is rude, self-righteous and clearly sexist. Nikki did the right thing by calling him out. His apology meant nothing and there is so much pressure for him to be canned. It would be a shock if he wasn’t.’ Collins was also quick to sing the praises of Cornish, her co-host for a day, by posting a picture of them together on her Instagram. Harlow, Lemon and Collins (all pictured) had been discussing Haley’s proposal during a speech on Wednesday where she announced her run for president. Lemon, who is five years older than Haley, 51, said the politician should tread lightly on the topic because ‘a woman is in their prime in 20s and 30s and maybe 40s.’
Haley herself responded to Lemon’s comments, saying: ‘It’s always the liberals who are the most sexist’ in a tweet with a clip of the video segment.
Lemon apologized for his comments on Thursdays show, and tweeted: ‘The reference I made to a woman’s ‘prime’ this morning was inartful and irrelevant, as colleagues and loved ones have pointed out, and I regret it. ‘A woman’s age doesn’t define her either personally or professionally. I have countless women in my life who prove that every day.’ A furious Harlow reportedly stormed off the set following the ‘sexist’ exchange on Thursday, sources told the New York Post.
Harlow took a ‘well timed’ bathroom break and was followed into the bathroom by Kaitlan Collins (pictured right) – with the source adding the tense relationship has been ‘smoldering for months.’ Collins had her own run-in with her fellow host, who was seen on camera repeatedly interrupting her throughout the show on December 8. Lemon allegedly made Collins run from the set in tears on after he berated her in front of the television crew and their other co-host. Since the incident, Lemon has been sent to Memphis and on other assignments, while Collins worked remotely from Washington DC on several occasions in January. CNN This Morning has suffered a ratings bomb and early last month experienced its least-viewed week since launch, averaging just over 330,000 viewers.
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