(WatchDogReport.org) – On February 16, Don Lemon was talking on CNN’s “This Morning” about former South Carolina Nikki Haley’s (R) announcement that she was running for president. The discussion centered around Haley’s belief that politicians over the age of 75 should have to take a mental competency test before serving. Lemon pointed out that the former governor should be careful what she wishes for because she is not “in her prime.” The comment sparked harsh backlash against the host.
That same day, Lemon tweeted an apology, saying he regretted his words earlier that day. The CNN host tried to backtrack on his comments, stating, “age doesn’t define” a woman “personally or professionally.” Despite his words, Lemon was missing from the morning show the following Monday and Tuesday, but he returned on February 22. Before his appearance on air, the host tweeted another apology, promising to do better.
I appreciate the opportunity to be back on @CNNThisMorning today. To my network, my colleagues and our incredible audience — I’m sorry. I’ve heard you, I’m learning from you, and I’m committed to doing better.
See you soon.
— Don Lemon (@donlemon) February 22, 2023
Two days before Lemon’s return, The New York Times shared parts of a memo written by CNN’s Chairman Chris Licht about the matter. He said the host agreed to “formal training” and assured the network was not taking the matter lightly. Licht said he had a face-to-face conversation with the host about his behavior and thought it was important to allow Lemon to admit to his mistakes, “learn, and grow” without losing his job.
Reactions to Lemon’s original remark were strong and swift. Actress Patricia Heaton started a Twitter thread the next day, listing her many accomplishments — post 50. She encouraged other women to post similar threads themselves, and they did.
Hey Ladies – @donlemon thinks women over 50 are past their prime! Let’s start #primetime and list some of the things we’ve accomplished in these glorious later years. I’ll start:
– Produced the comedy feature Unexpected (available on iTunes/AmazinPrime) #primetime
— Patricia Heaton (@PatriciaHeaton) February 17, 2023
Haley also reacted to Lemon’s words, implying the remark was “sexist” and stating “Liberals” just don’t like the idea that older politicians prove their mental fortitude before serving in government. If the politician gets her way, the mental capacity test would apply to her competitor — Trump — who will soon be 77.
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