Don Lemon Returning to CNN After Controversial Nikki Haley Comments

Don Lemon will return to work at CNN on Feb. 22, less than a week after making controversial comments about Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley's age on CNN This Morning.

By JD Knapp Feb 21, 2023 7:44 PMTags
Watch: Don Lemon Clarifies Leaving CNN Remark He Made On-Air

Don Lemon is heading back on air.

The CNN This Morning co-anchor will return to the morning show on Feb. 22, E! News can confirm. The news comes less than a week after he was criticized for comments about politician Nikki Haley.

According to CNN Business, the anchor will undergo "formal training" follow his controversial remarks regarding the former United Nations Ambassador, 51, whom he suggested was not in her prime when referring to comments she had made about elderly career politicians having to prove their mental aptitude before re-election.

"This whole talk about age makes me uncomfortable," Lemon began on the Feb. 16 episode of CNN This Morning. "I think it's the wrong road to go down. She says people—politicians or something—are not in their prime. Nikki Haley isn't in her prime, sorry. When a woman is considered in her prime in her 20s and 30s and maybe 40s."

Co-hosts Poppy Harlow and Kaitlan Collins immediately pushed back on the longtime anchor, giving Lemon an opportunity to clarify his stance. However, he instead doubled down.

"That's not according to me," the 56-year-old continued. "If you Google, 'When is a woman in her prime?' It'll say 20s, 30s and 40s."

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Lemon apologized shortly after his initial segment aired. "The reference I made to a woman's 'prime' this morning was inartful and irrelevant, as colleagues and loved ones have pointed out, and I regret it," he wrote on Twitter. "A woman's age doesn't define her either personally or professionally. I have countless women in my life who prove that every day."

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Haley later addressed the controversy on Fox News. "This is something that I have faced all of my life," the former governor of South Carolina said on Feb. 20. "It was Don Lemon yesterday, Whoopi Goldberg the day before, there will be somebody else tomorrow." (The View host claimed Haley was not part of Washington, D.C.'s next generation due to her age on Feb. 17.) 

CNN boss Chris Licht revealed the news of Lemon's return in an internal memo, shared by CNN Business, claiming staffers deserved to be able to "learn and grow from their mistakes."

"I sat down with Don and had a frank and meaningful conversation," Licht wrote in the Feb. 20 email. "He has agreed to participate in formal training, as well as continuing to listen and learn. We take this situation very seriously."

Lemon has been a part of CNN since 2006 and hosted Don Lemon Tonight from 2014 to 2022.

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