By Jack Phillips
Host Don Lemon wrote Monday that he was fired from CNN and suggested that the move was unexpected.
Lemon, who most recently hosted CNN’s “This Morning,” wrote on Twitter that he “was informed this morning by my agent that I have been terminated by CNN.”
“It is clear that there are some larger issues at play,” he wrote in a cryptic statement.
His firing came about an hour after Fox News issued a news release saying that it parted ways with Tucker Carlson. Neither Carlson nor Fox News has explained why the widely popular primetime host departed the network.
CNN also confirmed Monday that the network and Lemon “have parted ways.” It added, “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.”
Lemon, however, indicated in his Twitter statement that he’s less-than-pleased with the move and accused CNN’s management of not having “the decency to tell me directly.” The firing came unexpectedly, he said.
“At no time was I ever given any indication that I would not be able to do the work that I have loved at the network,” Lemon’s statement continued before making reference to the “larger issues at play.” Lemon then thanked his colleagues and others he worked with over his tenure at CNN.
In a later statement, CNN disputed some of Lemon’s allegations.
“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 wrote on Twitter.
For months, Lemon has been dogged by controversy. During a live segment in February, the former CNN host said that Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley, 51, was past her “prime,” drawing criticism on social media.
“Nikki Haley isn’t in her prime, sorry,” Lemon said at the time, coming after Haley stated that candidates over the age of 75 should undergo mental competency examinations. “When a woman is considered to be in her prime—in her 20s, 30s, and maybe her 40s.”
A report from Variety magazine earlier this month, citing anonymous sources, claimed Lemon allegedly mistreated female colleagues during his CNN career. The report, which claimed to have cited a dozen current and former colleagues, said Lemon was openly hostile to them.
But Lemon has denied the allegations. “The story, which is riddled with patently false anecdotes and no concrete evidence, is entirely based on unsourced, unsubstantiated, 15-year-old anonymous gossip,” a spokesperson said told news outlets in response to the article.
During the administration of President Donald Trump, Lemon’s CNN show took a leftward shift as the host frequently criticized the president. Trump, in turn, has often described Lemon as “dumb as a rock.”
His firing, meanwhile, comes about two years after former CNN host Chris Cuomo was terminated from the network after an investigation found that he helped his brother, then-New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, battle allegations of misconduct foisted by several women. Cuomo filed a lawsuit against CNN and is seeking $125 million for wrongful termination, which is still pending.