CNN’s Don Lemon Accused Of Misogyny And “Diva-Like Behavior”

Don Lemon landed a job at CNN back in 2006. Two years later, he and Kyra Phillips were co-hosting the show “Live From.” Their working relationship was quite tense, and Variety reports that producers had to pull Lemon off the air during a commercial break on more than one occasion. In addition, Variety reports that Lemon was also disrespectful to colleagues including Nancy Grace and Soledad O’Brien.

Two sources told Variety that one example of Lemon’s inappropriate behavior was how he reacted when Phillips got to travel to Iraq instead of him. He was disappointed at not getting the Iraq gig, so he reportedly responded by tearing up pictures and notes inside Phillips’ desk. After Phillips returned home, she received two threatening texts reading, “Now you’ve crossed the line, and you’re going to pay for it.” The sources claim the texts were traced to Lemon. After an investigation, Lemon was not fired but instead moved to the weekends instead of co-hosting with Phillips.

A CNN spokesperson told Variety, “Don says the alleged incident never occurred and that he was never notified of any investigation. CNN cannot corroborate the alleged events from 15 years ago.” 

Lemon is currently a co-host of “CNN This Morning.” In February 2023, he received backlash after a comment he made about the age of Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley. He said, “Nikki Haley isn’t in her prime, sorry. A woman is considered to be in their prime in 20s and 30s and maybe 40s.”

CNN responded to Lemon’s comments, calling them “sexist” and “unacceptable.” While he was off the air for a couple days, he returned on February 22nd. He didn’t mention the incident when he returned, but it has only drawn attention to more of his unacceptable antics through the years, particularly towards women. According to sources who spoke to Variety, Lemon always managed to use his natural charm to get out of any serious consequences for his actions.

Lemon is gay, but before coming out of the closet, at age 41, he dated a recent college graduate and CNN staff memeber who was only 22. The difference in age and power imbalance was frowned upon, but Lemon didn’t try to hide their relationship.

Reportedly, Lemon once told a producer to that she was “fat.” He also reportedly mocked Nancy Grace by mimicking her. In addition, during an editorial call with more than 30 staff members in attendance, Lemon took out his frustration that O’Brien would be hosting the docuseries “Black in America” instead of him by claiming that she’s not even Black. O’Brien wasn’t at the meeting, but she commented on the incident, telling Variety, “Don has long had a habit of saying idiotic and inaccurate things, so it sounds pretty on brand for him.”

Besides this inappropriate and shocking behavior, CNN staffers also call Lemon’s behavior “diva-like.” Examples include arriving to work late and skipping editorial calls.

What is Lemon’s fate at CNN? Will he continue to charm his way out of everything he does that seems offensive? CNN is currently having the anchor undergo “formal training.” According to attorney Devin McRae, what it really comes down to is “How is Lemon’s behavior making CNN look?”

Learn more about Lemon’s inappropriate behavior in the video below.