CNN host Don Lemon took heat on Thursday and Friday after doubling down on his show’s criticism of rapper Kanye West. On Thursday evening, Lemon said West’s Oval Office meeting with President Trump reminded him of a “minstrel show” and brought up West’s dead mother to make his point.
“What I saw was a Minstrel show today,” Lemon said making an unusual appearance on “The Situation Room.” “This was an embarrassment, Kanye’s mother is rolling over in her grave.”
West’s mother, Donda West, died in 2007 after botched cosmetic surgery.
“The president of the United States [is] exploiting him and I don’t mean this in a disparaging way, exploiting someone who needs help, who needs to back away from the cameras, who needs to get off stage, who needs to deal with his issues,” Lemon continued. “Kanye needs help.”
"What I saw was a Minstrel show today."@DonLemon reacts to Kanye West's bizarre Oval Office meeting with President Donald Trump.
— The Situation Room (@CNNSitRoom) October 11, 2018
The invocation of West’s mother was too much for many, who subsequently ripped Lemon for his commentary.
“As someone whose mom died early, this really pisses me off. Saying Kanye’s late mom is ‘rolling over in her grave,’ is about as low as you can possibly go when trying to hurt someone. I don’t understand what CNN is doing,” said Fox News media reporter Brian Flood in a tweet.
Others, including Geraldo Rivera and James Woods, also voiced their displeasure with Lemon’s comments.
As someone whose mom died early, this really pisses me off. Saying Kanye’s late mom is “rolling over in her grave,” is about as low as you can possibly go when trying to hurt someone. I don’t understand what CNN is doing. https://t.co/T2lNLI07jK
— Brian Flood (@briansflood) October 12, 2018
Media praising @taylorswift13 for engaging on the side of Democrats in upcoming Mid-Term elections. But same activism by #KanyeWest is damned as a 'Minstrel Show' that would cause Kanye's late mother 'to spin in her grave.' Why the dual standard? Kanye supports @realDonaldTrump
— Geraldo Rivera (@GeraldoRivera) October 12, 2018
Tonight @DonLemon dragged @CNN to a new low, bringing Kanye West’s dead mother into this by saying that she’s "rolling in her grave" over him supporting the President. You can smell the fear permeating through the left over Kanye visiting the White House. pic.twitter.com/RSfzEMoQK8
— Robby Starbuck (@robbystarbuck) October 12, 2018
— James Woods (@RealJamesWoods) October 12, 2018
— Boris Epshteyn (@BorisEP) October 12, 2018
Speaking of “hateful movements”, your network called Kanye West an illiterate token n-word on air, and then suggested his dead mother “would be rolling in her grave” bc he‘s friends with the president https://t.co/AiWysxpVKv pic.twitter.com/0gPaGgcYUz
— Harry Khachatrian (@Harry1T6) October 12, 2018
Lemon raised ire earlier this week after a panel on his show made fun of West when Bakari Sellers accused West of being a “negro” who didn’t read and CNN contributor Tara Setmayer said he was a “token negro.”
“He’s an attention whore, like the president. He’s all of a sudden now the model spokesperson. He’s the token negro of the Trump administration,” she said.
“This is ridiculous and no one should be taking Kanye West seriously. He clearly has issues. He’s already been hospitalized,” Setmayer continued. “Not to trivialize mental health issues, [but] obviously Kanye has taken a turn in a very strange way.”
CNN did not respond to multiple requests for comment from TheWrap.