Don Lemon was fired by CNN. The media network, now led by Chris Licht, dispensed with his services after 17 years, in which he stood out for his strong opposition to former President Donald Trump. Throughout his career, he stood out as a journalist and correspondent focused on politics, which led him to head the prime time slot.
According to the journalist, he was "stunned " by the decision and would have preferred to be told personally by management. “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 want to thank my colleagues and the many teams I have worked with for an incredible run," he added in his disclaimer.
Lemon was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, in March 1966. He went through public school and then attended Louisiana State University. During his time there he was a Republican and even voted for President Ronald Reagan. In 1996, he graduated from Brooklyn College with a major in television journalism, which led him to work for Fox affiliates in Chicago and Saint Louis.
In 2003, he joined WMAQ-TV, where he worked as a reporter and local news anchor. His work was soon rewarded with three Emmy awards, attracting the attention of a major national network. CNN added him to its ranks in 2006 and since then he has continued to grow within the media company. In 2010 he released his autobiography, Transparent, in which he openly confessed to being gay. After interviewing numerous political personalities, he came to national fame in 2014, when he landed on prime time.
After Piers Morgan departed from the network, Lemon took over his slot on CNN: Don Lemon Tonight, where he analyzed national politics along with panelists and guests. The arrival of Donald Trump to the presidency marked the beginning of one of the strongest rivalries that the former president had with a journalist. Grievances came and went constantly.
Lebron James was just interviewed by the dumbest man on television, Don Lemon. He made Lebron look smart, which isn’t easy to do. I like Mike!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 4, 2018
For example, following an interview with LeBron James, in which the basketball player complained about racial tensions and attributed them in part to Trump's rhetoric, the then-president responded via Twitter. "Lebron James was just interviewed by the dumbest man on television, Don Lemon. He made Lebron look smart, which isn’t easy to do. I like Mike!" he wrote at the time.
In another instance of this rivalry, perhaps one of the most memorable, Lemon called the president a "racist." "This is CNN Tonight, I'm Don Lemon. The president of the United States is a racist. Many of us already knew that," the host said, following a report that went viral in which Trump had referred to certain Central American countries as "sh*thole countries." "They [the comments] are not even really surprising. Because that's just the way Donald Trump is," the journalist opined.
Their feud continued after Trump left the White House in 2021. In case there were any doubts, Trump publicly celebrated Lemon's dismissal. "Good news: 'The dumbest man on television,' Don Lemon, has finally been fired from Fake News CNN. My only question is: WHY DID IT TAKE SO LONG?" he wrote on Truth Social.
The journalist recently went viral for some comments about the age of Nikki Haley, the only woman who has officially declared herself in the running for the GOP presidential nomination. Shortly after the former South Carolina governor's release, Lemon opined that she "isn't in her prime" and that a woman "is considered in her prime in her 20s, 30s and maybe 40s." He had to apologize days later due to reactions from the audience.
Lemon was fired by CNN on April 24. After the journalist stated that he was notified of his termination by his agent, the network came out to deny his comments. According to the media outlet, his version of events was "inaccurate," as "he was offered the opportunity to meet with management, but instead issued a statement on Twitter."