On Monday, overshadowed by the surprise announcement that top-rated host Tucker Carlson was no longer at Fox News, came the similarly shocking revelation that CNN had fired longtime host Don Lemon.
There was ample speculation about why Lemon was fired, but one report in particular that the host's recent highly combative interview with Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy was the last straw for "exasperated" network executives, the Conservative Brief reported.
It followed a series of events over the past several months in which Lemon made controversial remarks, allegedly engaged in confrontations with his morning show co-hosts, and was accused of routinely engaging in misogyny against women.
Interestingly enough, it appears that Lemon actually announced his own firing from CNN on Twitter just moments before the network did with a post that included a statement expressing his surprise and outrage at the decision that had been made.
"I was informed this morning by my agent that I have been terminated by CNN. I am stunned. After 17 years at CNN I would have thought someone in management would have had the decency to tell me directly," Lemon said. "At no time was I ever given any indication that I would not be able to continue to do the work I have loved at the network. It is clear that there are some larger issues at play."
About five minutes later, CNN itself tweeted, "CNN and Don have parted ways. Don will forever be a part of the CNN family, and we thank him for his contributions over the past 17 years. We wish him well and will be cheering him on in his future endeavors."
Roughly 40 minutes after that, the network said in a separate post, "Don Lemon’s statement about this morning’s events is inaccurate. He was offered an opportunity to meet with management but instead released a statement on Twitter."
That same day, The New York Times reported on the firing of Lemon and his reaction and how he had immediately hired an "aggressive Hollywood litigator," presumably to sue CNN for wrongful termination, but then proceeded to lay out the likely reason for his termination, per inside sources, which as noted appeared to be a culmination of multiple incidents.
The situation for Lemon at the network began to seriously deteriorate in February when he sparked controversy with dismissively misogynistic remarks about GOP presidential candidate Nikki Haley and a woman's "prime" age, which convinced some executives that Lemon's continued employment was "untenable," particularly in conjunction with reports of his declining popularity with viewers and that some guests were reluctant to come on his show.
The last straw, however, seemingly came on Wednesday last week when Lemon engaged in a highly argumentative and dismissive discussion with Ramaswamy about Black history and the Second Amendment, among other things, that reportedly left network executives "exasperated" with Lemon's behavior, according to The Times' sources.
After the announcement of Lemon's termination and the report from The Times about the likely reason why, Ramaswamy appeared on Fox News and suggested that CNN had made a "sound decision" to fire Lemon following their contentious interview last week.
The GOP candidate said, in reference to Lemon's assertions that he couldn't speak about Black history because he wasn't Black, "I think that any network that wants to foster open debate should embrace that principle by not restricting what someone can say or saying what someone can say is restricted based on their skin color. And I think they made the right decision here."
"I've been working very hard over the last three years, over three years, really trying to transform corporate culture in this country to embrace true diversity of thought," he continued. "And I think that's going to be better for companies, I think it's going to be better for the country, and we're slowly starting to see the fruits of those efforts."
"This is also why I, unlike many other people in my position, go out of my way to engage in dialogue with those who disagree with me, including networks outside of conservative media, because I think it's important to air what otherwise are the hypocrisies that don't get aired," Ramaswamy added. "And I think good things happen when hypocrisies are aired if you have good leaders who are willing to act based on that."