Embattled CNN anchor Don Lemon will return to CNN This Morning on Wednesday – but has to undertake formal training after his litany of problematic on-air comments.
The 56-year-old anchor was absent from the show with co-hosts Poppy Harlow and Kaitlan Collins on Friday and Monday following the remarks he made on Thursday about Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley being ‘past her prime.’
CNN’s Chairman Chris Licht, who has slammed Lemon’s remarks, sent a memo to staffers Monday saying that Lemon has agreed to participate in training and that he would be back on Wednesday, according to former anchor Brian Stelter.
Lemon was seen swimming and frolicking on the beach hours after he joined a CNN editorial call from Miami on Friday where he apologized to staff for his comments.
Embattled CNN anchor Don Lemon will return to CNN This Morning on Wednesday – but has to undertake formal training after his litany of problematic on-air comments
CNN’s Chairman Chris Licht, who has slammed Lemon’s remarks, sent a memo to staffers Monday saying that Lemon has agreed to participate in training and that he would be back on Wednesday, according to a tweet by former CNN anchor Brian Stelter
The 56-year-old was seen swimming and frolicking on the beach hours after he joined a CNN editorial call from Miami where he apologized to staff yet again for his comments
According to a memo sent to staffers on Monday, Licht said: ‘I sat down with Don and had a frank and meaningful conversation. He has agreed to participate in formal training, as well as continuing to listen and learn. We take this situation very seriously.’
‘It is important to me that CNN balances accountability with a fostering a culture in which people can own, learn and grow from their mistakes. To that end, Don will return to CNN This Morning on Wednesday.’
Lemon 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.
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.’
CNN’s Chairman Chris Licht slammed his remarks as ‘upsetting, unacceptable and unfair to his co-hosts, and ultimately a huge distraction to the great work of this organization’
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.’
But Lemon 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.
The week prior, 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.
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.’
Lemon, 56, went ‘ballistic’ at staffers who highlighted the spat with Collins, according to RadarOnline – with the host claiming she ‘interrupted him’ during a December broadcast
Kaitlan Collins (right) opened the show by saying that their co-host ‘has the day off’ as Lemon was replaced for the day by Audie Cornish (left), with the show not acknowledging the comments he made the day before
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
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 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 – 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.
The Best of the Worst of Don Lemon
Was Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 swallowed by a black hole? – During coverage of the missing Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 in 2014, Don Lemon asked a panel of experts whether it was possible the Boeing jet might have been swallowed up by a black hole:
‘People are saying to me, why aren’t you talking about the possibility – and I’m just putting it out there – that something odd happened to this plane, something beyond our understanding?’ he asked.
‘What if it was something fully that we don’t really understand? A lot of people have been asking about that, about black holes and on, and on, and on, and all of these conspiracy theories,’ he continued, adding comparisons to the Bermuda Triangle and the television show Lost.
US Department of Transportation inspector general Mary Schiavo said the theories were unlikely:
‘Well, it is. A small black hole would suck in our entire universe so we know it’s not that. The Bermuda Triangle is often weather. And Lost is a TV show,’ she said.
Why didn’t you just bite his penis? – While interviewing Bill Cosby sexual assault accuser Joan Tarshis, Lemon asked her why she didn’t stop him from raping her by biting his penis:
‘You know, there are ways not to perform oral sex if you don’t want to do it,’ he said.
‘I was kind of stoned at the time, and quite honestly, I that didn’t even enter my mind. Now I wish it would have,’ Tashis said.
‘Right. Meaning the using of teeth, right?’ Lemon asked, ‘As a weapon.’
‘Ouch,’ Tashis said, ‘No, it didn’t cross my mind.’
Pull your pants up, black people – In 2013 while talking about Bill O’Reilly’s controversial comments that unmarried black women need to stop having children and inner city schools need to enforce discipline, Lemon argued the Fox News host’s plans to elevate black people wasn’t as bold as it should be.
‘In my estimation, he doesn’t go far enough,’ said Lemon, ‘Walking around with your a** and your underwear showing is not okay. In fact, it comes from prison. When they take away belts from prisoners so they can’t make a weapon. And then it evolved into which role each prisoner would have during male-on-male prison sex.’
Lemon went on to explain black people should stop using the N-word, and refrain from littering.