Chris Licht, the network’s chief executive, announced Lemon’s return in an email to employees on Monday (February 20), per CNN. In the wake of his comments, Lemon has also been mandated to participate in formal training.
“I sat down with Don and had a frank and meaningful conversation,” Licht wrote in Monday’s email. “He has agreed to participate in formal training, as well as continuing to listen and learn. We take this situation very seriously.”
“It is important to me that CNN balances accountability with … fostering a culture in which people can own, learn and grow from their mistakes,”the exec added. “To that end, Don will return to CNN This Morning on Wednesday.”
Controversy ensued last week when Lemon made sexist comments regarding Nikki Haley’s bid for presidency during a discussion on CNN This Morning.
Haley, who recently declared she would be running for president, previously remarked that politicians over the age of 75 should have to perform mental competency tests. Lemon argued on air that the 51-year-old former South Carolina governor “isn’t in her prime.”
The CNN anchor cited that women are only “considered to be in their prime in 20s and 30s and maybe 40s.” Despite pushback from co-anchors Poppy Harlow and Kaitlan Collins, Lemon doubed down on his comments duing a separate segment in the following hour.
During CNN’s editorial meeting on Friday (February 17), Lemon apologized to his co-workers, saying he wanted to be “really clear” about his regret for making the comments.
“I believe that women of any age… can do whatever they set their minds to,” Lemon said.
Licht said Lemon’s comments were “unacceptable” and “unfair to his co-hosts.” Lemon hasn’t appeared on air at CNN since the remarks.
“The people I am closest to in this organization are women,” Lemon said during Friday’s editorial meeting. “The people I seek counsel from most in this organization are women.”
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