New York (CNN) CNN has parted ways with longtime host Don Lemon. The announcement on Monday came without any explanation and took the media by surprise.
“Dan will forever be a part of the CNN family, and we thank him for his contributions over the past 17 years,” CNN CEO Chris Licht said in a note to employees. “We wish him well and cheer him on in his future endeavors.”
Lemon co-hosts “CNN This Morning” with Poppy Harlow and Kaitlan Collins. The show has been on air for almost six months.
“We’re committed to its success,” Licht said of the morning show.
Lemon said in his own statement that his agent told him Monday morning that CNN had fired him.
“I’m appalled,” said Lemon, who argued that the administration lacked the “decency” to directly report the firing. “At no time was I given any indication that I couldn’t continue to do the job I wanted at the network,” Lemon added.
CNN refused Lemon calls his version of events “false.”
“He was offered an opportunity to meet with management, but instead released a statement on Twitter,” the network said in a statement.
Lemon joined CNN in September 2006. Prior to “CNN This Morning,” Lemon hosted the prime-time show “Don Lemon Tonight” for more than eight years. During Donald Trump’s presidency, she gained significant notoriety for making unhinged comments about the former president, pushing back against his lies and calling him a “racist.”
He Widely criticized For sexist comments he made on “CNN This Morning” in February. During a debate over Republican presidential nominee Nikki Haley’s bid, Lemon argued that Haley, 51, was “not in her prime.”
A woman “is only considered prime in her 20s and 30s and maybe 40s,” Lemon said. Co-anchors Harlow and Collins backed off, but Lemmon doubled his point.
Licht later sent a memo to CNN staff, calling the comments “unacceptable.” Licht said he had a “candid” conversation with Lemon, who apologized and was willing to participate in formal training sessions.
“It’s important to me that CNN balances accountability… fostering a culture where people can own their mistakes, learn and grow,” Licht said.
“If I make a mistake, I own it,” Lemon told staff at an editorial meeting. “This is mine too.”
Earlier this month, Variety published a Report Describes accusations of misogyny aimed at female co-workers. Lemon denied the allegations.
“Lifelong social media lover. Falls down a lot. Creator. Devoted food aficionado. Explorer. Typical troublemaker.”