Four months after his abrupt departure from CNN, controversial long-time host Don Lemon fired back at his former network on Friday, saying he felt “vindicated” by the removal of CNN’s former chairman and CEO Chris Licht, who was ousted by CNN parent company WarnerBros. Discovery after just one year on the job.
In an interview on Kara Swisher and Scott Galloway’s Pivot podcast, Lemon said he was never allowed to address his controversial comments shortly before his departure, when he said 2024 GOP presidential candidate and former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley was not “in her prime.”
Lemon also referenced a June 2 story in The Atlantic detailing Lemon’s series of controversies and the melt-down that played out on air, as well as comments from Licht criticizing Lemon’s attire and on-air opinions.
Lemon told Swisher in response to a question about the turmoil: “They’re gone now. So do I feel vindicated in that sense? Yes, I do.”
Licht was removed from the network in June, calling his embattled 13-month tenure an “incredibly challenging assignment,” following a round of layoffs at the company, and the firing of both Lemon and host Brian Stelter.
Lemon, who joined CNN as a correspondent in 2006 and became known as an outspoken personality, was fired by CNN in April after 17 years with the network, though he’s come under fire on multiple occasions for questionable comments on air. In 2013, Lemon, who is Black, argued on CNN Saturday that Black Americans should not wear baggy pants or say the N-word, and was later named in a lawsuit by a bartender in New York who accused him of assaulting him at a bar in 2018. CNN moved Lemon from primetime to its CNN This Morning show with Poppy Harlow and Kaitlan Collins last November, a move that Licht referred to as a “promotion,” despite being rumored to be a retaliatory move to tone down Lemon’s political commentary.
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