CNN morning co-host Don Lemon is in hot water after making an ageist comment about 2024 GOP presidential contender Nikki Haley during a show segment.
On-air with Kaitlan Collins and Poppy Harlow, the panel discussed Haley making age an issue during the upcoming election campaign, likely a swipe at the ages of President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump.
Lemon remarked that Haley was not in her “prime” as a woman in her 50s, causing consternation among fellow network staff members, even earning a rebuke from CEO Chris Licht.
Following the incident, a “furious” Harlow reportedly walked off the set, and Collins followed her into the restroom during a “well-timed” bathroom break. Sources suggest that the tense relationship between Lemon, Collins, and Harlow had been simmering for several months.
Additionally, a CNN insider claimed that the recent high-profile incident may prompt network boss Licht to replace Lemon as the co-host of the morning show.
Lemon later apologized on Twitter, saying that his reference to a woman’s “prime” was “inartful and irrelevant,” and that a woman’s age does not define her personally or professionally.
However, his comment was already made, and the damage may have already been done. In the wake of the incident, people are questioning whether Lemon should be held accountable for his words, especially given his platform as a news anchor.
Ageism is a form of discrimination that affects people of all genders and races. When a person is judged based on their age rather than their abilities, experience, and expertise, it can lead to exclusion and marginalization in the workplace and in society at large.
In the case of Nikki Haley, she has a long track record of public service and leadership, having served as the governor of South Carolina and the United States ambassador to the United Nations. To reduce her to a number is not only disrespectful but also ignores the breadth of her achievements and capabilities.
The incident highlights the need for more awareness and education around ageism and its impact. We must strive to create a world where people are valued for their skills and talents, regardless of their age, and where everyone is treated with dignity and respect.
As a prominent media personality, Don Lemon has a responsibility to use his platform to promote inclusivity and diversity, not perpetuate harmful stereotypes. It is up to him to make amends and show that he is committed to doing better in the future.