CNN anchor Don Lemon, 56, did not appear on the February 17 episode of “CNN This Morning” after publicly apologizing for his controversial comments about former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley. Here’s what happened.
The Controversial Comments
On the February 16 show, Lemon made headlines when he suggested that Haley, who is 51, was “past her prime.” During a discussion with co-host Poppy Harlow, Lemon commented on Haley’s suggestion that politicians over age 75 should take mental competency tests. “Nikki Haley isn’t in her prime, sorry,” Lemon said, adding that a woman’s prime is “in her 20s, 30s, and maybe her 40s.”
Harlow then asked Lemon to clarify what he meant, and he replied that an internet search would prove his point. When Audie Cornish joined the discussion, she clarified that she thought “prime” referred to Haley’s fitness for electoral politics.
On February 14, Haley announced her candidacy for the 2024 presidential election. After Lemon’s comments went viral, Haley responded via Twitter, accusing liberals of sexism and their opposition to competency tests for older politicians.
Later that same day, Lemon apologized for his remarks on Twitter, stating that his reference to a woman’s “prime” was “inartful and irrelevant.” He regretted making the comment and acknowledged that a woman’s age does not define her personally or professionally.
While Lemon apologized for his comments, the incident highlights the importance of choosing words carefully and avoiding ageism and sexism. It is essential to be mindful of our language, especially when discussing important issues such as politics and public service.