A Lemon by Any Other Name

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Don Lemon is problematic.

He is not supposed to be. He is supposed to be the shining symbol of diversity, equity, and inclusion. He checks all the boxes for a left-wing media obsessed with surface-level qualities. He is Black (check) and gay (check, check) and he hates Republicans (check, check, and check). It doesn’t get more “qualified” at CNN than that. By all modern measurements, Lemon should be the network’s golden child.

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Unfortunately for CNN, Lemon also hates women. That’s a big problem.

His recent sexist/ageist comments regarding Nikki Haley are just the latest in a string of issues for the 56-year-old anchor.

Lemon’s history on CNN is riddled with low ratings. That, in and of itself, is not surprising or odd. CNN has been plagued with low ratings for years. Coupled with his other issues on the network, one begins to wonder why the tv host still has a job at CNN at all.

Initially, questions about his professionalism were raised when Lemon hosted CNN’s 2016 New Year’s Eve coverage...drunk. The veteran host took shots of alcohol on air, slurred through awkward segments with his female cohost, and tried to get his nipples pierced…live on air. CNN eventually cut away from him after he drunkenly blurted out his goal for 2017 was to “get a boyfriend.” He also came under fire for his unsteady declaration of 2016 as a horrible year, thanks to Trump’s surprise election. Perhaps that would fly during his regular daytime shows, but New Year’s Eve coverage is traditionally supposed to be upbeat, positive, and fun. The network eventually yanked his feed.

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The trouble didn’t stop there. For years, rumors swirled about Lemon’s treatment of female colleagues and employees on CNN sets. Lemon was said to be condescending, curt, even blatantly mean to many women.

Last year, reports revealed the “CNN This Morning” host berated cohost Kaitlan Collins for “interrupting” him on air. He was so cruel, Collins left the set.

According to two sources with knowledge of the situation, 56-year-old Lemon approached 30-year-old Collins following the show’s Thursday, Dec. 8, broadcast — and unloaded on her in front of staffers as he accused her of “interrupting” him on air.

“Don screamed at Kaitlan, who was visibly upset and ran out of the studio,” one source with knowledge of the skirmish said.

A straight white man in that position might have been sent to sensitivity training, or just fired without hesitation. Not Mr.Checks-All-The-Boxes. CNN President Chris Licht simply ordered Lemon to take a couple of days off from the show to “cool down.”

And then there are the sexual harassment charges. A man named Dennis Hice filed the lawsuit in New York City courts, and claims that Lemon harassed him in 2018.

VIBE previously reported in 2019, Hice filed the lawsuit in New York. In the suit, he claimed that in 2018, Lemon approached him and offered him “The Lemon Drop” a cocktail to which he refused. Later, he claimed the CNN reporter “put his hand down the front of his shorts, and vigorously rubbed his genitalia, removed his hand and shoved his index and middle in [Hice’s] mustache and under [Hice’s] nose.”

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The case was later dropped and Hice issued an apology.

The point is that there is a lot of messiness surrounding Lemon, and were he anyone else, the sexual harassment charge alone would have probably been enough to knock him off his pedestal at the network. Other men entangled in #MeToo movement momentum have been fired for less. Other straight, white men, that is. Lemon may or may not have deserved those charges, but he has a previous record of unsavory behavior behind the scenes even without the sexual harassment case. At the very least, it shows trouble follows Lemon.

Yet, he persisted.

Lemon’s latest faux pas crossed quite a few blatant lines. It was an inappropriate comment to make about a female politician on a supposedly professional platform. It was doubly inappropriate to make the comment while flanked by two female colleagues, both of whom have reportedly had unpleasant confrontations with Lemon off-screen in the past. It is one thing to act or speak awfully off-camera. It is quite another to shame the woman occupying the seat next to you while a live audience watches; and worse still to refuse to let her voice her response while mansplaining to her that “the internet says so.”

And still, Lemon is employed with CNN. Even Chris Cuomo couldn’t hide behind his privilege for that long and was sent packing based on accusations and behind-the-scenes rumors. Lemon was once again told to take some time to cool off and this time was sent to reeducation classes, presumably to teach him how not to be an a**hole on television.

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He should be fired, according to the left’s own rules.

William Shakespeare famously wrote in Romeo and Juliet, “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”

A misogynistic harasser should stink the same no matter what boxes he checks off. No matter what name he goes by, he should (and generally would) be fired and shamed for some of the things Don Lemon has done and said to his coworkers.

A Lemon by any other name would be joining Chris Cuomo in streaming no man’s land. A Lemon by any other name would still stink. But not this Lemon. This Lemon gets chance after chance after chance.

When will the left finally start smelling this guy?

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