CNN’s Don Lemon says he regrets comment about women’s ‘prime’ age

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Within the newest setback for CNN’s struggling new morning present, Don Lemon stated he regretted his “inartful and irrelevant” touch upon Thursday’s present about when ladies are “of their prime” that drew a fast backlash from colleagues and viewers.

Lemon, who left a primary time perch to co-host the brand new program, made the remark in response to Republican presidential hopeful Nikki Haley’s name for “obligatory psychological competency assessments for politicians over 75 years outdated” — a veiled reference, many assumed, to President Biden, 80, and former president Donald Trump, 76.

“This complete speak about age makes me uncomfortable,” Lemon, 56, informed his co-hosts, Poppy Harlow and Kaitlan Collins. “I believe it’s the unsuitable highway to go down. She says folks, , politicians or one thing will not be of their prime. Nikki Haley isn’t in her prime, sorry — when a lady is taken into account to be in her prime in her 20s and 30s and perhaps 40s.”

Haley, the previous governor of South Carolina and U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, is 51.

Harlow challenged Lemon, asking whether or not he was referring to the “prime” ages for bearing kids. “Don’t shoot the messenger,” Lemon replied. “I’m simply saying what the details are. Google it, all people at residence. … I’m simply saying Nikki Haley ought to be cautious about saying that politicians will not be of their prime, they usually must be of their prime after they serve. As a result of she wouldn’t be in her prime, in line with Google, or no matter it’s.”

The backlash rapidly lit up social media. “That is sexism, and utterly offensive,” Kate Bennett, a former CNN White House correspondent, tweeted.

Haley received in her personal shot, sharing the clip and writing that “it’s all the time the liberals who’re essentially the most sexist.”

On Thursday afternoon, Lemon backtracked. “The reference I made to a lady’s ‘prime’ this morning was inartful and irrelevant, as colleagues and family members have identified, and I remorse it,” he wrote. “A girl’s age doesn’t outline her both personally or professionally. I’ve numerous ladies in my life who show that each day.”

Lemon left his solo present as host of “Don Lemon Tonight” final 12 months to function one of many three hosts of CNN’s new morning present, which launched in November. Whereas the present remains to be new, “CNN This Morning” has struggled to achieve a bigger viewers than its predecessor, which was known as “New Day.” In January, the present attracted a mean of 372,000 complete viewers, in line with Nielsen information, in comparison with 827,000 for MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” and 1.2 million viewers for scores chief “Fox & Pals” on Fox Information.

A CNN spokesperson countered reports about low scores in an interview with the Wrap by saying the present “is off to an ideal begin, seeing double-digit viewers development in simply three months on air, which is sort of an accomplishment for a younger present.”

Forward of the present’s launch, CNN chief government Chris Licht informed The Washington Publish that the on-air dynamic between the three hosts can be its key differentiator. “The three of them have a real camaraderie that can translate completely to a morning present,” Licht said at the time. “That’s the hardest factor to get, the persona and the chemistry.”

The meteoric rise of CNN’s Kaitlan Collins

Licht stated that Lemon, Harlow and Collins “all like one another and are real pals.”

However that chemistry has been examined over the present’s first three months, with the typically tense on-air relationship between Lemon and Collins a topic of regular tabloid interest.

In early December, Lemon raised eyebrows when he argued that it’s truthful for the U.S. ladies’s nationwide soccer group to earn lower than the boys’s group. “I do know everybody’s going to hate me, however the males’s group makes extra money. In the event that they make more cash, then they need to get extra money,” Lemon stated. “The boys’s group makes extra money as a result of persons are extra within the males.”

When Harlow identified an identical pay hole between NBA and WNBA gamers, Lemon countered that “there’s additionally extra curiosity within the NBA.” He added: “If the ladies performed the boys, they wouldn’t be successful the way in which that they win.”

Some feminine staffers at CNN expressed displeasure with Lemon’s feedback about ladies’s age forward of his retraction.

“Each girl in her forties watching that morning present is cheering for Poppy Harlow as a result of we’ve all been in that seat subsequent to our male colleague saying silly issues about ladies,” stated one longtime CNN persona in her 40s who requested anonymity to talk candidly.

One other feminine on-air persona informed The Washington Publish that the state of affairs on the morning present is “unsustainable” in its present type. “We hold asking ourselves: Does he wish to get booted off the present and return to prime time within the evenings?”

With Lemon off prime time, the community has additionally not but settled on a everlasting substitute for the ten p.m. to midnight time slot he crammed for a few years, although the community has tapped Alisyn Camerota to concentrate on the ten p.m. hour and Laura Coates to concentrate on the 11 p.m. hour. Licht has additionally but to decide on a 9 p.m. host to completely change Chris Cuomo, who was fired greater than a 12 months in the past.

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