NewsUSADon Lemon apologizes to CNN colleagues for sexist comments: 'I'm sorry I said that'

Don Lemon apologizes to CNN colleagues for sexist comments: ‘I’m sorry I said that’

New York (CNN) — CNN host Don Lemon apologized to his colleagues Friday for sexist comments he made on the network’s morning show about when women are “at their best,” expressing during the company’s daily editorial briefing that he felt have offended them.

“I’m sorry I said that,” Lemon said. “And I certainly understand why people considered it completely wrong.”

“When I make a mistake, I own it,” Lemon added. “And I also assume this one.”

Lemon commented on women during a discussion Thursday on “CNN This Morning” about former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley’s presidential run, prompting a quick and fierce backlash.

Announcing her run for the presidency, Haley called for mental competency tests for politicians 75 and older. Lemon said that Haley herself “isn’t at her best.”

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Lemon tried to buttress his argument by stating that a woman is only “considered at her best in her 20s, 30s, maybe 40s.”

The comments were disputed by co-anchors Poppy Harlow and Kaitlan Collins, but Lemon continued to press her point, even reaffirming it in a segment for the next hour.

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Don Lemon apologized to his colleagues for his comments on “CNN This Morning” during Friday’s editorial meeting. Credit: CNN

Haley herself spoke out about the comments later on Twitter, attacking Lemon for his words and even using them to raise funds.

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During CNN’s editorial briefing on Friday, the network’s CEO Chris Licht said he had heard about Lemon’s comments from several people within the organization.

Licht called Lemon’s comments “unacceptable” and said they were “unfair towards her co-hosts”.

Licht added that he believed it was necessary to foster a culture of responsibility and considered it important that Lemon was at the morning meeting, which was held virtually, so that he could apologize.

Lemon thanked Licht for the opportunity to address the staff directly and said he wanted to be “really clear” about his regret for making the comments.

“I think women of any age … can do what they set their minds to,” Lemon said.

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“The people closest to me in this organization are women,” Lemon added, citing her relationships with various female presenters and executives. “The people I ask for advice the most in this organization are women.”

Lemon was absent from “CNN This Morning” this Friday, something that had already been determined before the controversy and was announced Thursday on the air.

Lemon also apologized for his comments in a tweet posted Thursday afternoon.

“My reference to a woman’s ‘finest moment’ this morning was clumsy and irrelevant, as colleagues and loved ones have pointed out, and I’m sorry,” Lemon said. “A woman’s age does not define her personally or professionally,” she added. “I have countless women in my life who prove it every day.”


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