Don Lemon will return to co-hosting duties at “CNN This Morning” on Wednesday and has agreed to participate in “formal training,” following fallout from sexist comments he made last week about the age at which women are in their “prime.”
In a statement issued Monday night and obtained by The Daily Beast, CNN CEO Chris Licht said, “To my CNN Colleagues, I sat down with Don and had a frank and meaningful conversation. He has agreed to participate in formal training, as well as continuing to listen and learn. We take this situation very seriously.”
Without going into detail about what that “formal training” would involve, Licht added: “It is important to me that CNN balances accountability with fostering a culture in which people can own, learn and grow from their mistakes. To that end, Don will return to ‘CNN This Morning’ on Wednesday.”
In a morning discussion last Thursday with co-anchors Poppy Harlow and Kaitlan Collins, Lemon remarked that Republican presidential hopeful Nikki Haley “is not in her prime,” and when challenged added that a woman is “said to be in her prime in her 20s, 30s and maybe 40s.” According to multiple reports, his co-anchors were furious, as was Licht.
“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 apologized for his comments later on Thursday. The Times went on to report 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.”
An individual with knowledge of the situation told TheWrap Sunday that the “CNN This Morning” anchor was “gutted” by the comments he made — and feels that his comments “let women down.” Lemon extended his vacation Monday and returns to “CNN This Morning” for the first time since making his comments.