CNN and embattled anchor Don Lemon have cut ties, CNN CEO Chris Licht said in a memo to staffers on Monday.
“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 luck and will be cheering him on in his future endeavors,” Licht said.
Lemon announced on Twitter he had been fired, calling himself “stunned” and expressing anger that he hadn’t been contacted directly to be informed of his termination.
“I was informed this morning by my agent that I have been terminated by CNN,” Lemon said. “I am stunned.”
Lemon, who has been with CNN for 17 years, has been at the center of various scandals in recent memory but apparently didn’t think his time at the network was coming to an end.
“After 17 years at CNN I would have though 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,” Lemon continued. “It is clear that there are some larger issues at play.”
Lemon then thanked his now-former colleagues.
“They are the most talented journalists in the business, and I wish them all the best,” Lemon said.
Lemon, who was removed from CNN’s primetime lineup and moved to the mornings last year, found himself in hot water in February for claiming Republican presidential hopeful Nikki Haley was past her “prime” at age 51, citing Google as his source while stunning his female co-anchors in the process. Lemon offered a mea culpa during the network’s editorial call the next day, but female colleagues weren’t pleased.
Colleagues were further enraged when Lemon was spotted on Miami Beach after the insensitive remarks about Haley. Lemon was then ordered to take “formal training” but returned to his struggling morning show just days later.
Lemon’s “prime” comments were universally panned and not just by conservatives, receiving mockery from Biden spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre during a White House briefing and even making its way to this year’s Oscars ceremony. Best Actress winner Michelle Yeoh told women in Hollywood, “Don’t let anybody tell you, you are ever past your prime.”
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