Longtime anchor CNN announced in a tweet published Monday morning that he has been fired by the network. The news came hours after Lemon co-hosted “CNN This Morning” alongside Poppy Harlow and Kaitlan Collins. Lemon wrote: “I was informed this morning by my agent I have been terminated by CNN. I am stunned. After 17 years at CNN I would have thought that someone in management would have had 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.” Lemon ended his statement with a thank you to his colleagues: “With that said, I want to thank my colleagues and the many teams I have worked with for an incredible run. They are the most talented journalists in the business, and I wish them all the best.”
The network first tweeted in a statement: “Don will forever be a part of the CNN family, and we thank him for his contributions over the past 17 years. We wish him well and will be cheering him on in his future endeavors.” However, CNN Communications later issued a pointed rebuttal at Lemon’s remarks on Monday afternoon, releasing a statement via Twitter claiming Lemon’s version of the events that led up to his firing were “inaccurate” – “Don Lemon’s statement about this morning’s events is inaccurate. He was offered an opportunity to meet with management but instead released a statement on Twitter.”
The 56-year-old anchor’s exit comes months after he received backlash for comments he made during a Feb. 16 episode of CNN This Morning, while discussing politicians’ ages in a segment with co-hosts Harlow, 40, and Collins, 30. Speaking about Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley’s remarks that politicians over the age of 75 should be forced to take mental competency tests, Lemon said: “This whole talk about age makes me uncomfortable. I think it’s the wrong road to go down …She says … politicians are not in their prime. Nikki Haley isn’t in her prime. Sorry. A woman is considered to be in their prime in 20s and 30s and maybe 40s.” (Haley is 51). Lemon later apologized on social media for his comments, and did not appear on air during the next three broadcasts. CNN chairman Chris Licht told staffers that Lemon had agreed to undergo training after a “frank and meaningful conversation” and Lemon returned to CNN This Morning in February.
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