Don Lemon Pulled Out of Major Hosting Gig Over Nikki Haley Comments: Report


This isn’t the “change” they had in mind.

CNN’s embarrassingly embattled Don Lemon was originally scheduled to act as moderator for an “Agents of Change” event to mark Black History Month program in New York last week, but the fallout from his boorish remarks about women earlier this month is still casting a shadow over his public image.

And it was apparently too much to take.

TMZ reported Tuesday that Lemon’s planned gig at an event focused on race and real estate agents — organized by the New York-based Douglas Elliman real estate company — was a victim of the ongoing controversy over Lemon’s foot-in-mouth comments toward the fairer sex.

As most of the media/political world knows by now, Lemon got into hot water on Feb. 16 when he opined on “CNN This Morning” that former U.N. ambassador and current Republican presidential contender Nikki Haley should be careful about criticizing politicians “past their prime” because, as a 51-year-old woman, she was no longer in her “prime” herself.

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Quoth Lemon, “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.”

It was by far the stupidest thing Lemon has said in a career of stupid utterances — including his “black hole” speculation about the vanished Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 back in 2014 and various inebriated, idiotic New Year’s Eve appearances.

And its impact was immediate.

The afternoon of the statement, Lemon issued a contorted “apology” for the statement (though naturally without mentioning Haley). He then apologized again to his colleagues the next day while phoning into a CNN meeting from a long weekend in Miami.

Do you think Don Lemon is entertaining?

He did not return to the air until Wednesday, only to find out that his show’s audience had actually grown in his absence, by one measure, anyway. (Nielsen ratings said otherwise.)

And in the midst of all this, Lemon was supposed to head up a panel in New York City to talk about racism and its effects on real estate and real estate agents?

“We’re told Don was worried about his current news coverage overtaking the event, and our sources tell us event coordinators at Douglas Elliman agreed,” TMZ reported, “… so he bowed out.”

Of course, that puts the best possible spin on yet another embarrassment for Lemon, CNN’s most prominent loser — now that Chris Cuomo and Brian Stelter have been pushed out.

In this telling, the noble Don Lemon decided not to risk taking away from the importance of an event by inflicting his own presence on it. (If that nobility of spirit doesn’t really sound like the Don Lemon media observers have grown accustomed to over the years, that’s the story.)

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The bright side for the racially obsessed is that even though Lemon “pulled out” of the event himself, it still went on as scheduled, according to a Douglas Elliman news release, and presented a full-court press on the iniquities and inequities of the real estate business, including how few black real estate agents there actually are in the U.S., how much less they make than their white counterparts, and how much less median sales volume black real estate agents report than whites.

In short, it was the kind of wallowing in allegations of racism that Lemon and his ilk excel in.

Lemon’s moderating duties were taken over by John Gomes, co-founder of the New York City real estate company The Eklund | Gomes Team, according to the Douglas Elliman release. Gomes had had been scheduled to be merely a panelist on the program.

So, on Tuesday, the show went on without Don Lemon, and apparently went along very well.

It’s a lesson CNN boss Chris Licht might have already seen signs of with Lemon’s recent troubles. It’s one Licht might take to heart.

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Joe has spent more than 30 years as a reporter, copy editor and metro desk editor in newsrooms in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Florida. He's been with Liftable Media since 2015.
Joe has spent more than 30 years as a reporter, copy editor and metro editor in newsrooms in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Florida. He's been with Liftable Media since 2015. Largely a product of Catholic schools, who discovered Ayn Rand in college, Joe is a lifelong newspaperman who learned enough about the trade to be skeptical of every word ever written. He was also lucky enough to have a job that didn't need a printing press to do it.