Don Lemon "Screamed" at CNN Co-Host Until She Fled the Studio, Reports Say
Trouble is brewing on the set of CNN This Morning.
The mood on the set of CNN This Morning has been anything but light. The news show has only been on the air for three months, but allegedly tensions already came to a head between two co-anchors, Kaitlan Collins and Don Lemon, sources told the New York Post. Following a Dec. 2022 broadcast, Lemon reportedly "screamed" at Collins, prompting her to flee the studio. Read on to find out why Lemon reportedly lashed out, and where the pair stands today.
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Lemon accused Collins of interrupting him.
The conflict between Collins and Lemon, who host the show alongside Poppy Harlow, has the cast and crew on edge, per the New York Post. The issue dates back to Dec. 8, 2022, when Lemon reportedly yelled at Collins in front of staffers, saying that she had interrupted him during the broadcast.
"Don screamed at Kaitlan, who was visibly upset and ran out of the studio," a source told the New York Post.
Footage from that day shows Lemon talking over Collins while she tries to interject, with Lemon cutting her off at one point and telling her to "standby, one second." After news of the incident reached CNN CEO Chris Licht, he allegedly had a producer tell Lemon to take the following day to "cool off," the New York Post reported.
On Dec. 9, a source claimed that all three co-anchors had plans to get drinks ahead of the White House Christmas party for the press, but that didn't happen. Instead, Collins, Lemon, and Harlow arrived separately. After the festivities, Collins reportedly got together with Harlow, while Lemon had dinner with his agent, Jay Sures. Making things a bit awkward, Sures also represents Collins.
Best Life reached out to both Lemon and Collins for comment, but has yet to hear back.
Lemon lashed out again, sources said.
While Lemon's first outburst reportedly happened late last year, it's just now coming to light—and according to the Daily Mail, the host isn't happy that it's become public knowledge. The outlet reported that Lemon "lost his mind," yelling at others on set for a second time.
"Don lost his mind internally and went ballistic at staffers after the CNN newsletter highlighted a story about him screaming," an insider told RadarOnline.com on Feb. 3. The Daily Mail reported that Lemon is now taking some time off in Beverly Hills, California, with his partner Tim Malone.
Lemon previously had his own show, Don Lemon Tonight, which Licht canceled late last year before moving Lemon to CNN This Morning. A second source said that Lemon is "bossy and difficult to work with," adding that he'd admit that himself—and it's an adjustment coming from a one-man show. "He was a solo act before. He doesn't want to be in Destiny's Child," the source told the New York Post.
However, another source said that the co-anchored show might just be off to a bumpy start. "It's never smooth sailing in the beginning," they told the outlet. "They are all trying to get their sea legs."
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Megyn Kelly said politics may be stoking the fire.
After news about Lemon's behavior broke, former Fox News host Megyn Kelly chimed in, speculating that politics are at the heart of the issue. Collins served as the chief White House correspondent for CNN, but before that, she was a reporter for Tucker Carlson's right-wing news site The Daily Caller. According to the New York Post, Lemon reportedly told friends in 2021 he "didn't like" that Collins' was at The Daily Caller before CNN.
"She's somebody I wonder whether the politics have anything to do with it," Kelly said. "You can sense the tension [between Collins and Lemon]."
Kelly added that she's worked with "a lot of guys with big egos," but she's never been yelled at nor yelled at anyone else—and if she were in Collins' shoes, Lemon would've been given the boot. "If somebody ever screamed at me to the point where I was visibly upset and ran out of the studio, I would have that person fired," she said on her SiriusXM podcast.
The former Fox News host also speculated that this might not be the first time Lemon acted this way. "I will go out on a limb right now and tell you, that's not the first time," Kelly said, per the New York Post. "There will be another woman who he's co-anchored with—I guarantee you—who's going to come out and say, 'Me too.'"
CNN said that reports of conflict are "overblown."
Collins and Lemon haven't been on set together as frequently, with Collins working remotely from Washington, D.C., for portions of last month. A CNN representative told the New York Post that this is part of her chief correspondent role.
"The intent was always for the anchors to get out from behind the news desk, and they are doing an extraordinary job taking viewers inside the most important news stories of the day," the rep said.
But per the New York Post, Collins is keeping her distance from Lemon. "At this point, Kaitlan wants to be on set with Don as little as possible," a source told the outlet. "It's messy."
For its part, CNN maintains that the issue is "overblown," adding that the co-anchors remain friendly off the air. "The Post's account is wildly overblown and two months old," a CNN spokesperson told Best Life. "Don, Kaitlan and Poppy were friends before they were co-anchors and they remain friends today."