CNN's Don Lemon Faces Wrist Slap After Problematic Nikki Haley Comments

On the February 16 airing of "CNN This Morning," anchorman Don Lemon made some controversial comments about a woman being in her "prime," claiming that politician Nikki Haley is "not in her prime," since she's not in her 20s, 30s, or 40s. After getting into a small heated discussion with his co-anchor Poppy Harlow, he backed up his claim by urging people to "Google it."

Following the problematic comments, it was clear that CNN's chairman Chris Licht wasn't happy with Lemon. "His remarks were upsetting, unacceptable and unfair to his co-hosts, and ultimately a huge distraction to the great work of this organization," said Licht in an editorial call the day after the airing, reported by the New York Times. Licht also said that he was "disappointed" by Lemon's comments.

It was then reported that no one was going to defend Lemon's thoughts, and the news anchor's punishment was in discussion. At the time, they were debating on whether to give him a two-week suspension up front, or take it day by day. And it seems that the news organization has settled on when and how Lemon will return to the show.

Don Lemon returns to CNN five days after problematic comments

On February 21, it was announced that Don Lemon would be returning to anchoring "CNN This Morning" on February 22 after he made controversial comments about Nikki Haley. "I sat down with Don and had a frank and meaningful conversation," chairman Chris Licht wrote in a memo reported by CNN. "He has agreed to participate in formal training, as well as continuing to listen and learn. We take this situation very seriously." Licht also mentioned that the news organization "balances" people taking full responsibility for their actions while giving them a chance to learn from their mistakes.

Following the airing, Lemon took to Twitter to apologize for what he said. "The reference I made to a woman's 'prime' this morning was inartful and irrelevant, as colleagues and loved ones have pointed out, and I regret it," he tweeted. "A woman's age doesn't define her either personally or professionally."

This controversy comes a little after the CNN news anchor was accused of assaulting a man in a New York bar in 2018. In 2022, the man dropped the lawsuit due to realizing that he did not fully know the events that unfolded the night the assault allegedly happened.