“He was offered an opportunity to meet with management but instead released a statement on Twitter,” CNN’s communications team tweeted.
While the acrimonious back-and-forth spilled out over Twitter, CNN chief executive Chris Licht wrote a short memo to employees announcing “CNN and Don have parted ways.”
“Don will forever be part of the CNN family, and we thank him for his contributions over the past 17 years,” he added. “We wish him well and will be cheering him on in his future endeavors.”
Nevertheless, his firing was as unexpected as that of Carlson’s departure from Fox, which Fox disclosed Monday morning in a news release. Both men were key on-air personalities at their respective networks.
It was one of the biggest programmatic moves up until that point for Licht, who had a hand in creating and shaping several major morning shows, such as “CBS Mornings” and “Morning Joe” at MSNBC.
While morning shows represent valuable airtime — due in part to the advertising dollars they command — CNN regularly ranked toward the bottom behind its competitors in ratings, even before the new program debuted.
In his memo to CNN employees on Monday, Licht wrote that the morning program “has been on air for nearly six months, and we are committed to its success.”
Lemon co-hosted the program alongside Poppy Harlow and Kaitlan Collins, and he became a magnet for criticism, particularly after a February a segment discussing Haley’s call for competency tests for politicians older than 75.
Lemon told his co-anchors “This whole talk about age makes me uncomfortable.” He added: “I think it is the wrong road to go down. She says people, you know, politicians or something are not in their prime. Nikki Haley isn’t in her prime, sorry — when a woman is considered to be in her prime in her 20s and 30s and maybe 40s.”
Credit: Washington Post