CNN Chairman Chris Licht: Don Lemon’s Remarks About Nikki Haley Were ‘Upsetting, Unacceptable and Unfair’

Lemon, who was off the air on Friday, has already apologized for saying that 51-year-old Haley “isn’t in her prime”

Don Lemon, Chris Licht
Don Lemon, Chris Licht (Getty Images)

CNN chairman Chris Licht didn’t mince words over Don Lemon’s widely slammed comments about Republican politician Nikki Haley being too old to be in her “prime.”

“His remarks were upsetting, unacceptable and unfair to his co-hosts, and ultimately a huge distraction to the great work of this organization,” Licht told his staff during Friday morning’s editorial call, according to The New York Times.

Lemon made the comment about Haley’s age on Thursday’s edition of “CNN This Morning” and apologized for it later in the day. “This whole talk about age makes me uncomfortable. I think it’s the wrong road to go down. She says people, you know, politicians are suddenly not in their prime,” he told co-host Poppy Harlow. “Nikki Haley isn’t in her prime. Sorry. When a woman is considered in her prime in her 20s and 30s and maybe 40s.”

The Times reports that Lemon apologized again Friday morning to the CNN Newsroom in a “six-minute monologue,” saying: “I am sorry. I did not mean to hurt anyone. I did not mean to offend anyone.”

He mentioned several female colleagues, including Dana Bash and Erin Burnett, explaining, “the people I’m closest to in this organization are women.”

Lemon was not on the air on Friday morning. On Thursday’s show, it was announced he was taking the day off. A CNN spokesman told the Times that Lemon has not been formally suspended. CNN did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment.

Lemon anchored CNN evening news program “Don Lemon Tonight,” from 2014 to 2022, after which he was reassigned as a co-host to the less prominent morning show.