Report: Don Lemon’s CNN ‘Termination’ Connected to Nikki Haley Controversy

Don Lemon’s ouster at CNN was motivated at least in part by the former anchor’s controversial statements regarding GOP presidential candidate Nikki Haley, according to new reports Monday.

The New York Times‘ Michael M. Grynbaum tweeted,

Some guests were reluctant to appear on-air with Lemon, per CNN bookers. Network research found that audience sentiment on Lemon had dipped following his Nikki Haley controversy.”

Announcing his less-than-amicable departure from the network Lemon wrote in a tweet,

“I was informed this morning by my agent that I have been terminated by CNN. I am stunned. After 17 years at CNN I would have thought that someone in management would have 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. 

It is clear that there are some larger issues at play, With that said, I wan to thank my colleagues and the many teams I have worked with for an incredible run. They ar the most talented journalists in the business, and I wish them all the best.”

Though Lemon claims to be surprised by the development, the former anchor’s termination was presaged by a move from his previous prime-time solo slot to co-hosting a low-rated morning show beside two other personalities in September as reported by DC Enquirer.

This was followed by a public relations disaster when the co-host opined that former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley “isn’t in her prime” adding that, “A woman is considered to be in their prime in 20s and 30s and maybe 40s. That’s not according to me.”


The fallout from the comment was devastating and long-lasting.

According to the Times, “One of CNN’s most recognizable stars, Mr. Lemon had a reputation as a fiery political commentator during his eight years as a prime-time anchor. But inside the network, he began to lose support after he made remarks in February about women and aging that were widely perceived to be sexist. The incident generated a national uproar and a rare public rebuke from CNN’s chairman, Chris Licht.”

The outlet added, “Allies of Mr. Lemon had hoped he would turn the page from the incident. But executives at CNN gradually concluded that his future at CNN had become untenable, according to two people who spoke on condition of anonymity because the internal discussions were sensitive.”

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