CNN Cuts Out Part of Oscar Speech That Poked Right at Lemon - Was Network Afraid He'd Go 'Ballistic' Again?


Look, at this point, CNN’s Don Lemon should probably be thankful anyone is talking about him.

His morning show’s ratings are in the dumps, with the top-performing hour coming in at No. 47 in the cable news ratings last week.

His fractious relationship with co-hosts Kaitlan Collins and Poppy Harlow is the openest of open secrets.

And he’s coming off of a very public scolding in which he’s being forced to undergo “formal training” after saying on-air that GOP presidential contender and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, 51, “isn’t in her prime. Sorry. When a woman is considered to be in her prime — in her 20s and 30s and maybe 40s.”

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So, when “Everything Everywhere All At Once” star Michelle Yeoh won the Best Actress Oscar and took a not-so-good-natured dig at Lemon, you’d think CNN would do everything to show the “formal training” had worked and Lemon was able to not take himself so seriously.

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Long story short, apparently the “formal training” may not have taken — since the network cut the part of Yeoh’s speech in which the 60-year-old Malaysian-born actress told the audience “ladies, don’t let anybody tell you you are ever past your prime” from its coverage of the Oscars.

If you didn’t see the awards ceremony — and you wouldn’t be alone, since the 2023 Oscars managed to beat 2022 and 2021 but are so far the third-lowest since records started — “Everything Everywhere All At Once” was the big winner of the night, taking home every major award aside from Best Actor. (Sentimental favorite Brendan Fraser won that for “The Whale” — and “Everything Everywhere All At Once” didn’t even have a nominee in the category.)

Just in case you missed it, here’s the moment where Lemon’s offensive solecism was indirectly mentioned by Yeoh:

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However, as shown on “CNN This Morning,” Yeoh’s speech included (out of sequence) her closing line — “Never give up!” — and her opening words — “For all the little boys and girls who look like me watching …”

That made it appear that her “never give up” advice was directed toward Asians and Asian-Americans with dreams of making it big. The problem: Yeoh’s dig at Lemon came right before those final words. Yeoh’s “past your prime” line was cut out, which distorted the whole message: That Yeoh was talking to the countless millions of women Lemon had insulted on national television.

As Mark Finkelstein noted at conservative media watchdog Newsbusters, “They could have won a Best Editing Oscar for its artful censorship of Yeoh’s statement.”

Of course, Lemon was nothing but complimentary regarding Yeoh’s speech — and turned the award into a high-horse commentary about bigotry.

“I thought it was particularly reaffirming, especially for Asian-American actors, or just Asian-Americans in the country, considering I was in California covering the shootings there and the killings there. And every — all of the anti-Asian hate that has been going on in the country, especially since COVID,” Lemon said,

“I thought it was a really important and reaffirming moment for Asian-Americans. And I hope that, you know, they feel it in this country and that everyone does.”

No mention of ageism, though. Wonder why.

Perhaps it’s because of the fact that, when things don’t go Lemon’s way, his diva-like behavior has led to behind-the-scene blowups. And for his own show to air a nationally televised dig is just the kind of thing that might set Lemon off.

In February, the New York Post first reported an alleged incident that happened Dec. 8: After co-host Collins interrupted Lemon during the show, a source said “Don screamed at Kaitlan, who was visibly upset and ran out of the studio.”

CNN CEO Chris Licht reportedly had a producer intervene and tell Lemon to take the next day off to “cool off.”

“At this point, Kaitlan wants to be on set with Don as little as possible,” a source told the Post in the February report. “It’s messy.”

However, things got worse after an internal CNN email that mentioned the article got sent to employees: “Don lost his mind internally and went ballistic at staffers after the CNN newsletter highlighted a story about him screaming,” a source told Radar Online.

In other words, it sounds like Don Lemon is a hyper-fragile modern-day Ted Baxter who gets himself riled up whenever someone reminds him that he’s a flailing pundit with toxic opinions and low ratings.

So, with that in mind:

You’re welcome for the reminder, Don. Here’s hoping it goads you into another moment that leads to a bit of “formal training.”

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Morristown, New Jersey
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture