Don Lemon has been in the news for all the wrong reasons the last few months. Reports about his mistreatment of colleagues both on and off the air have made headlines, and his misogynistic comments have not gone unnoticed.
In February, the CNN This Morning host came under fire after he said former South Carolina governor and 2024 presidential hopeful Nikki Haley – and all other women over the age of 50 – are past their prime. The backlash was swift and widespread. Even Michelle Yeoh, 60, referenced Lemon’s remark in her acceptance speech when she won the award for Best Actress at the Oscars.
At the time, CNN CEO Chris Licht said the controversial anchor would be undergoing “formal training,” but Megyn wasn’t buying it. She criticized CNN for tolerating what could only be seen as a troubling pattern of behavior from Lemon and questioned if women even matter to the network. On Wednesday, her instincts were seemingly proven to be spot on. Variety published an article detailing Lemon’s history of “misogyny at CNN,” including “malicious texts,” “mocking female co-workers,” and “diva-ike behavior.”
On Thursday’s show, Megyn and the hosts of Ruthless – Comfortably Smug, Josh Holmes, Michael Duncan, and John Ashbrook – discussed the scathing report and her history documenting Lemon’s behavior.
Megyn Brings the Receipts
First and foremost, what stood out to Megyn about Tatiana Siegel’s reporting for Variety is that it addressed many of the questions that she had sought answers to. “I just want to tell you, this is what we actually went to CNN with and asked at the time because this ain’t my first rodeo,” Megyn shared. “I have been through these things with men who have a series of patterns against women many, many times, and I’ve called it out to the left or the right repeatedly – check the record.”
As Megyn explained, her team submitted the following questions to CNN:
- Has Don Lemon ever been the subject of a human resources complaint by a female anchor or correspondent?
- Has he been accused of harassment or other improper behavior by any CNN employee?
- How are such complaints, if any, resolved?
- Has he faced any disciplinary action or demotions in the wake of any such complaints from the beginning of his employment with CNN to present day?
Needless to say, the inquiry went unanswered. “They blew them all off,” Megyn noted. “I guess those weren’t relevant.”
The Major Takeaways from the Variety Article
Upon reading the piece, Megyn said one thing is clear: “My main takeaway is no one likes Don Lemon – no one.” The title of the Variety article, Don Lemon’s Misogyny at CNN, Exposed: Malicious Texts, Mocking Female Co-Workers and ‘Diva-Like Behavior, basically tells you everything you need to know about what Siegel uncovered about Lemon, but it was also packed with specific examples.
One particular anecdote that stood out to Megyn involved Kyra Phillips, who was Lemon’s co-anchor in 2008 on the show Live From. The article reads:
“For months, tensions between the pair kept mounting. On more than one occasion, a Live From producer and a newsroom supervisor had to pull Lemon off the air during a commercial break because of the anchor’s provocative antics… While Phillips was on assignment in Iraq — a high-profile gig that Lemon coveted — he vented his disappointment at being passed over by tearing up pictures and notes on top of and inside Phillips’ desk in the news pod they shared…”– Tatiana Siegel, Variety
“If that’s true, that’s crazy ass single white female behavior,” Megyn exclaimed. CNN’s response to the allegations, however, might be even more shocking. Reps told Variety:
“A spokesperson for CNN said, ‘Don says the alleged incident never occurred and that he was never notified of any investigation. CNN cannot corroborate the alleged events from 15 years ago.'”– Tatiana Siegel, Variety
“What kind of a HR hell hole is this,” Megyn questioned. A situation like this would normally trigger some sort of internal investigation – not a statement that gives the position of the alleged perpetrator. “You can’t find any other people at CNN who were there on that team 15 years ago,” Megyn asked. “Where are your HR records? Because this is the reason why companies keep HR records.”
Megyn admitted that she doesn’t know “what the truth is,” but she would “love to find out.” At this point, the only way for CNN to handle this situation is to allow Phillips to tell her side of the story. “Let her speak,” Megyn demanded. “CNN, will you go on the record right now and say, ‘Kyra Phillips, if you signed an NDA in connection with this incident, you may speak publicly about it because we have no information suggesting that it happened or that you were gagged’?”
“CNN, you spoke to Variety,” Megyn concluded. “Speak to me – answer my questions.”
You can check out Megyn’s full show with the Ruthless guys by tuning in to episode 523 on YouTube, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you like to listen. And don’t forget that you can catch The Megyn Kelly Show live on SiriusXM’s Triumph (channel 111) weekdays from 12pm to 2pm ET.