Don Lemon spokesperson slams ‘patently false’ exposé alleging previous ‘misogyny’

Don Lemon
Don Lemon attends the 7th annual Blue Jacket Fashion Show, in support of prostate cancer awareness, at Moonlight Studios on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023, in New York. (Photo by CJ Rivera/Invision/AP) CJ Rivera/CJ Rivera/Invision/AP

Don Lemon spokesperson slams ‘patently false’ exposé alleging previous ‘misogyny’

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After a new article was published on controversial CNN host Don Lemon, the network is responding, with a spokesperson for Lemon calling the piece “reckless” and “riddled with patently false anecdotes.”

In the new article from Variety, titled “Don Lemon’s Misogyny at CNN, Exposed: Malicious Texts, Mocking Female Co-Workers and ‘Diva-Like Behavior,'” the host is accused of various inappropriate behaviors and misconduct during his time at CNN.

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In a statement, a spokesperson for Lemon told the Washington Examiner: “The story, which is riddled with patently false anecdotes and no concrete evidence, is entirely based on unsourced, unsubstantiated, 15-year-old anonymous gossip. It’s amazing and disappointing that Variety would be so reckless.”

According to the piece, Lemon had a tense relationship with former co-anchor Kyra Phillips in the late 2000s, sometimes requiring the host to be pulled off air during commercials. This rift between the pair grew, with Lemon eventually sending threatening texts to the host after being passed over for an assignment in Iraq which was given to Phillips.

“Now you’ve crossed the line, and you’re going to pay for it,” read one of the texts allegedly traced back to Lemon’s phone.

Despite the alleged “provocative antics” that led to his being pulled off air during commercials, as well as threatening messages, a spokesperson for CNN said: “Don says the incident never occurred and that he was never notified of any investigation. CNN cannot corroborate the alleged events from 15 years ago.”

The piece further claims he behaved disrespectfully to multiple colleagues over the years, particularly Soledad O’Brien. He reportedly suggested that O’Brien was not black during a large editorial meeting after the CNN host received the gig of hosting the 2008 docuseries Black in America, according to witnesses.

According to O’Brien, who wasn’t present, “Don has long had a habit of saying idiotic and inaccurate things, so it sounds pretty on brand for him.”

“Don always wanted to be front and center on anything high profile, especially anything involving race,” a colleague reportedly said.

“Don, Soledad, and others have in the past correctly referred to her Afro-Cuban heritage as it is a unique part of her personal story. But Don denies making any related remark in a derogatory way,” a spokesperson for CNN said in a statement.

He also reportedly mocked colleague Nancy Grace on air, and while she didn’t offer comment to the publication, a source identified as being close to her said, “she thinks he’s an ass,” adding that the CNN host was “rude, dismissive and really unfamiliar with the [news] content being discussed.”

A witness to the mocking event said, “That was the beginning of when you knew that Don was kind of volatile and didn’t say good things about women.”

CNN did not offer comment on the Grace allegations.

After actor Jussie Smollett staged his own hate crime, he testified that Lemon had texted him and conveyed that Chicago police did not believe his story. This was reportedly the first occasion that Smollett had learned about the police department’s doubts.

His ethics as a journalist were then called into question by some at the network.

“He should have been benched in that instance. No question,” according to a reported “longtime colleague.”

A spokesperson for CNN said: “CNN reviewed the incident in question at the time and found that any interaction was an act of journalism as Don was attempting to prompt a response from Mr. Smollett and book him for his show.”

Additionally, former CNN consultant Goldie Taylor said she was “blacklisted” after calling out some of Lemon’s “offensive comments.”

“I am personally banned from a network b/c, ironically enough, I dared disagree w/ a black man publicly abt black life […] I don’t throw rocks and hide my hand. That network is @CNN and the anchor is @donlemon,” she posted to social media in 2016.

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“I’m never surprised when Don gets in trouble,” she said of recent events. “It makes me neither happy nor sad to see him undermine his own success. There was a time when it appeared that black people were most often the subject of his ire. Now, it seems to me that when he says something offensive, there’s almost always a woman on the other side.”

A spokesperson for the network said: “I’m not going to weigh in on the network’s booking practices of unpaid guests a decade ago.”

© 2023 Washington Examiner

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