Before his demotion

Even CNN CEO Is Fed Up With Don Lemon

Don Lemon has alienated viewers, co-hosts, and behind-the-scenes staffers since CNN demoted him from primetime to morning television last fall.

We can now add his boss, CEO Chris Licht, to that list.

Licht opened his daily 9 a.m. editorial call on Friday by rebuking Lemon’s remarks on Thursday about women over 40 no longer being in prime condition.

“Nikki Haley isn’t in her prime, ” Lemon told co-hosts Poppy Harlow and Kaitlan Collins of Haley announcing her presidential bid for 2024 as a 51-year-old woman. “Sorry, When a woman is in their prime in 20s and 30s and maybe 40s…”

The segment “disappointed” Licht.

“His remarks were upsetting, unacceptable and unfair to his co-hosts, and ultimately a huge distraction to the great work of this organization,” Licht told his staff, according to a recording of the call which The New York Times obtained.

Don Lemon did not appear on air Friday. CNN says the host had pre-planned a vacation. Convenient, no?

It was also convenient when Lemon’s “planned” vacation the day after he berated Kaitlan Collins after a segment in December.

Lemon reportedly “screamed” at his co-host because she talked more than he preferred during a segment they shared.

#CNNMorningDrama has spread for months. Ever since Lemon’s demotion, to be exact.

But perhaps lost in the junior high drama is the lack of success of said morning program. See, CNN has recorded the lowest ratings for a morning show in a decade since Lemon took over in November.

As much as primetime viewers, female co-hosts, and Chris Licht might despise Lemon — morning viewers lead the way in their distaste for the broadcaster with a cheer captain temperament.

Lemon’s behavior and his ratings are fireable offenses.

Companies should show zero tolerance for employees who create a toxic work environment and disrespect colleagues. Both practices burn the foundation of the brand. It’s the ultimate losing formula.

Yet as we explained Thursday, firing a gay black man is no easy task in 2023. Firing Lemon would incite drama far exceeding the matter of the morning show.

Don Lemon is privileged like that.

He’s also unsuccessful. Not too bright. He relies on tiresome cliches to make his points. Don Lemon also handles his business like a character from “Mean Girls.”

Written by Bobby Burack

Bobby Burack is a writer for OutKick where he reports and analyzes the latest media topics as well as trending sports, cultural and political stories.

Burack has become a prominent voice in media and has been featured on several shows across OutKick and industry related podcast and radio stations.

Previously, Burack was a writer at The Big Lead where he covered similar topics. He also hosted an eponymous podcast where he interviewed several personalities such as Joe Tessitore, and Adam Schefter.


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