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Furious female CNN staffers 'will quit' unless Don Lemon is sacked after making sexist remarks about Nikki Haley

Don Lemon had recently remarked that women in their 50s and Nikki Haley were past their prime
UPDATED FEB 21, 2023
Female staffers at CNN have threatened to quit unless Don Lemon is sacked after he made sexist remarks about Nikki Haley (Photos by Dominik Bindl and Theo Wargo/Getty Images)
Female staffers at CNN have threatened to quit unless Don Lemon is sacked after he made sexist remarks about Nikki Haley (Photos by Dominik Bindl and Theo Wargo/Getty Images)

ATLANTA, GEORGIA: Following his discriminatory remarks that Nikki Haley, 51, and women in their 40s were "past their prime," enraged female staffers at CNN reportedly threatened to quit if Don Lemon, 56, remained on-air. A source close to the "most busted name in news" reportedly said, "If Don doesn't go, others have threatened to quit. People are hurt by his actions and are not going to let this go. It is like every woman over 50 in America has taken this as a personal insult. The female staffers at CNN definitely have. He needs to make his vacation a permanent one."

Moreover, another CNN insider reportedly said, "The women of CNN are angry. He's made it impossible to do their jobs. He's an embarrassment to the network and needs to go." Following his comments against women and the former governor of South Carolina, Haley, Lemon apologized both in public and in an editorial meeting with his CNN colleagues.


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On being asked if Lemon was being made to quit, a CNN representative reportedly said, "It is patently false to say Don is being pushed to resign." CNN insiders insist, however, that "CNN has been literally, flooded like a tidal wave with extremely angry and offended loyal viewers," per Daily Mail.

With remarks criticizing Haley, who has demanded that legislators over 75 undergo competency testing, Lemon has been hit by backlash. Bridget Todd, director of communications at UltraViolet, a leading national gender advocacy organization, said Lemon, one of CNN’s most recognized personas who was channeled to co-host the network’s remodeled morning show, should not be permitted to cover politics moving forward.

Lemon has been relaxing on Miami Beach while the controversy gets worse, and he hasn't been seen on the set of CNN's 'Morning Show' since he said those comments, despite being scheduled to return on Monday, February 20. CNN chairman Chris Licht also criticized Lemon's remarks, calling them "upsetting, unacceptable and unfair to his co-hosts, and ultimately a huge distraction to the great work of this organization."

Lemon's apology was reportedly not well-received by the staffers, with some calling it "tone deaf" and stating that it seemed like he was patting himself on the back for admitting his mistake. In a tweet with a clip from the video segment, Haley herself replied to Lemon's remarks by declaring, "It's always the liberals who are the most sexist."


What did Don Lemon say?

The controversy began with Haley's remarks against President Joseph Biden and other senior officials. She declared her intention to seek the Republican party's presidential candidature in 2024 and targeted her opponents based on their age. She suggested requiring "mandatory mental competency tests" as part of the election process for all candidates above the age of 75, implying that they would experience some sort of dementia or senility.

When reporting on this on Thursday, February 16, Lemon observed that it was a precarious situation and suggested that following Haley's reasoning, she might be called into question. He reportedly stated, "This whole talk about age makes me uncomfortable. I think it's the wrong road to go down. She says people, you know, politicians are suddenly not in their prime. Nikki Haley isn't in her prime. Sorry, when a woman is in their prime in 20s and 30s and maybe 40s."

As Poppy Harlow, Lemon's co-anchor, pressed him to explain what he meant by "prime," he continued, "Don't shoot the messenger, I'm just saying what the facts are. Google it. Everybody at home, when is a woman in her prime? It says 20s, 30s and 40s. I'm just saying Nikki Haley should careful about saying that politicians are not in their prime, and they need to be in their prime when they serve. She would not be in her prime according to Google, or whatever it is."

Hours later, Lemon tweeted from his personal account to apologize for his remarks, calling them "inartful and irrelevant, as colleagues and loved ones have pointed out, and I regret it." He apologized more than once for his comments, including one right after the broadcast and another in an editorial call with colleagues. Apologizing, Lemon said, "I'm sorry I don't mean to hurt anyone. I did not mean to offend anyone. What I said came out wrong and I wish I hadn't said it. I believe women of any age can do anything they set their minds to. The people I am closest to in this organization are women."