Don Lemon Reveals Future Plans After Being Fired From CNN
The former host stepped out after the news that he'd been let go by the network.
He may have just lost his long-time job, but Don Lemon doesn't seem too worried. On Wednesday, April 26, the journalist walked the red carpet at the TIME100 Gala and talked to reporters for the first time about being fired from CNN. The network announced on Monday, April 24 that the news anchor was leaving after 17 years. No reason was given in the statement, but Lemon had recently been involved in a controversy and faced public criticism. He and the network gave differing accounts as to how his departure went down.
At the event, Lemon shared more about the state of his career, post-CNN. Read on to see what he had to say.
READ THIS NEXT: The Real Reason CNN Fired Don Lemon, Insiders Say.
Lemon said he was told by his agent that he had been "terminated."
CNN announced earlier this week that Lemon was leaving the network, effective immediately. "CNN and Don have parted ways," CNN CEO Chris Licht said in a statement, as reported by The New York Times. "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."
On Twitter, Lemon accused the network of handling the situation badly, claiming he wasn't even told he had been let go by anyone at CNN. He said that he had been told by his agent that morning. "I am stunned," Lemon wrote. "After 17 years at CNN I would have thought that someone in management would have had the decency to tell me directly. At no time was I ever given any indication that I would not be able to continue to do the work I have loved at the network. It is clear that there are some larger issues at play."
CNN Communications challenged his account in their tweet. "Don Lemon's statement about this morning's events is inaccurate," the account posted, also on Monday. "He was offered an opportunity to meet with management but instead released a statement on Twitter."
He's looking forward to having time off.
Lemon spoke told Entertainment Tonight at the TIME100 Gala that, for now, he's looking forward to "summer on the beach and on the boat, chilling with [his] family."
He also said that he is "happy to be moving in a new direction" but regrets having to leave behind one aspect of his former workplace. "I'm going to miss all the talented people and journalists at CNN, who are my friends and who I love, and who I've been speaking to," Lemon explained.
He added, mentioning his date for the evening, Tim Malone, "I'm fine, life is good, I've got my beautiful fiancé here and we're all good."
He doesn't have any regrets.
Entertainment Tonight asked Lemon if he has any regrets about his time at CNN. He responded, "No, this is life. You get one life, and I have no regrets … I live my life virtually carefree and regret-free. You can't change the past, you can only move into the future and live in the present. And that's what I'm doing."
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He doesn't plan to find another position right away.
In an interview with Extra at the event, Lemon said that won't be looking for another job right away.
"I'm gonna spend my summer on the beach and on the boat, and with my family. Just chill out and then I'll see what happens next, but I'm fortunate enough to be in a position where I can do that, where I have time," he said. "I don't have to rush to another job—even if I want another job. I do. I want to work again, but I'm lucky enough to be in a position where I don't have to worry about those things."
On a similar note, Lemon told reporters (via People), "You guys are more worried about me than I am."
Lemon has been at the center of several controversies recently.
While CNN did not explicitly state why Lemon was fired, the host has made headlines in recent months that could be related.
During a February episode of CNN This Morning, Lemon made a sexist comment about women during a discussion about politician Nikki Haley and her belief that politicians should be given mental competency tests if they are over 75.
"She says politicians … are not in their prime. Nikki Haley isn't in her prime. Sorry," Lemon said of the 51-year-old former governor. "When a woman is considered to be in her prime in her 20s, and 30s, and maybe 40s." When co-hosts Poppy Harlow and Kaitlan Collins pressed Lemon on the matter, he said that he was "just saying what the facts are" and suggested they "Google it." He quickly apologized on social media and returned to the show after a brief absence.
More recently, Variety published a report about Lemon alleging that he has a history of unprofessional behavior toward women co-workers and that he also displayed "diva-like behavior" at CNN. The report also references controversial on-air moments from Lemon's past.
A spokesperson for Lemon commented to Best Life about the report, "The story, which is riddled with patently false anecdotes and no concrete evidence, is entirely based on unsourced, unsubstantiated, 15-year-old anonymous gossip. It's amazing and disappointing that Variety would be so reckless."
In light of Lemon's firing, a source told The New York Times that the network had been having trouble finding guests willing to appear on air with the anchor, and that his popularity with viewers had decreased.