Don Lemon breaks silence after CNN firing: ‘I don’t believe in platforming liars and bigots’

Journalist says he was ‘stunned’ when news network fired him in April

Graeme Massie
Los Angeles
Sunday 25 June 2023 22:58 BST
Don Lemon breaks silence after CNN ouster

Former CNN anchor Don Lemon has broken his silence two months after his ouster from CNN and insisted he is in no rush to return to the air.

The journalist tweeted in April that he had been fired by the news network after 17 years on-air, admitting that he was “stunned” by the decision.

On Saturday, Lemon told ABC24 Memphis in an interview that his firing came about because of his commitment to the “truth.”

“I have a responsibility not only as a journalist but as an American to tell the truth and to abide by the promises of the Constitution,” said Lemon.

“Because the Constitution says a more perfect union, not a perfect union. I’m not a perfect person. No one is.”

And he added: “I don’t believe in platforming liars and bigots, and insurrectionists and election deniers and putting them on the same footing as people who are telling the truth; people who are fighting for what’s right, people who are abiding by the constitution.

“I think that would be a dereliction of journalistic duty to do those sorts of things. That is what has gotten me to this point, and that is what is going to carry me forward.”

His departure from CNN came soon after he courted controversy with comments about the age of Republican presidential contender, Nikki Haley.

Lemon was temporarily suspended for the comments which came in response to Ms Haley’s suggestion for a mental competency test for politicians older than 75.

Don Lemon speaks out about his firing from CNN

Nikki Haley isn’t in her prime, sorry,” he said. “When a woman is considered to be in her prime — in her 20s, 30s and maybe her 40s.”

Lemon told the Memphis station that following his abrupt departure from CNN he was not in any rush to figure out his professional future.

“I’m not gonna force anything,” Lemon said. “I’m not gonna let other people’s timelines influence me.”

“I know people say, ‘I miss you on television. What is your next move?’ I’m figuring that out,” he added.

“I don’t have to be in a rush. I think sometimes people rush to make decisions and they end up making the wrong decisions.”

Lemon spoke weeks after CNN CEO Chris Licht was fired after a short and chaotic tenure at the news network.

Licht’s time in charge saw CNN suffer a dramatic fall in ratings, staff cuts and criticism from within its own newsroom about the chaotic Donald Trump town hall it held last month.

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