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Former CNN anchor Don Lemon has spoken for the first time since being fired from the network. He was in New York City attending the Time 100 gala when he spoke to Extra about being axed from the network where he worked for 17 years.
“Life goes on. That’s behind me, and we’ll see what happens in the future,” the former host said. “I’m gonna spend my summer on the beach and on the boat and with my family. Just chill out, and then I’ll see what happens next, but I’m fortunate enough to be in a position where I can do that … I have time. I don’t have to rush to another job, even if I want another job.”
The last sentence appears to indicate that he may be done with television altogether.
He said he would not change anything he did that might have led to his being dismissed.
“I live my life with no regrets, and whatever I did, I did, I owned,” he said. “I don’t look back and don’t want to change things in the past.”
“So there are lots of things that come your way that are unexpected, but I’m a survivor,” he said. “I come from strong, sturdy stock in Louisiana, and a lot of people are rooting for me and who love me.”
But he was not so kind when he first learned of his dismissal.
Lemon, who is now a former CNN host, had a temper tantrum on Twitter after claiming that he learned from his agent that he had been axed, but CNN immediately fired back at him.
The former host indicated that he believed there were other issues at play as he tore into his former employer.
“I was informed this morning by my agent that I have been terminated by CNN. I am stunned,” the former host said. “After 17 years at CNN I would have thought 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,” he said.
“It is clear that there are some larger issues at play,” he said before thanking his colleagues.
— Don Lemon (@donlemon) April 24, 2023
But CNN public relations disputed the former host’s description of events.
“Don Lemon’s statement about this morning’s events is inaccurate. He was offered an opportunity to meet with management but instead released a statement on Twitter,” it said.
Don Lemon’s statement about this morning’s events is inaccurate. He was offered an opportunity to meet with management but instead released a statement on Twitter.
— CNN Communications (@CNNPR) April 24, 2023
The two women that he had issues with on his CNN morning show made quick mention of him and moved on.
“We do begin, though, with news about this show. As you may have heard yesterday, CNN parted ways with anchor Don Lemon. In a statement, CNN CEO Chris Licht thanked Don for his contributions over the past 17 years, writing in part, ‘Don will forever be a part of the CNN family. We wish him well and will be cheering him on in his future endeavors.’” Poppy Harlow said.
“Absolutely. Of course, Don was a big part of this show over the last six months. He was one of the first anchors on CNN to have me on his show. That’s something I’ll obviously never forget. I agree with Chris. We wish him the best,” Kaitlan Collins said.
“Yeah, we certainly do. Don was one of my first friends here at CNN. I’m so thankful to have worked alongside him and for his support for nearly 15 years here, and I wish him all good things ahead. Kaitlan and I are really proud of this show. We’re so proud of the dedicated team that works around the clock to bring you the news every morning, and our priority is you, the viewer. We’re grateful you welcome us into your home each morning,” Harlow said.
“Absolutely. Of course, this morning we want to keep it the focus on the news and where that belongs. So let’s get to it. ‘CNN This Morning’ starts right now,” Collins said.
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CNN announced on Monday that it was parting ways with Lemon, a star anchor who has been engulfed in controversy over the years, particularly in recent months.
“CNN and Don have parted ways,” the network said in a statement 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 well and will be cheering him on in his future endeavors.”