Report dishes details on sour relationship between Don Lemon and CNN boss leading up to anchor’s firing

An eye-opening new report on the troubled early tenure of CNN CEO Chris Licht sheds new light on the sour relationship between the man who sought to right the ship at the self-proclaimed “most trusted name in news” and diva host Don Lemon, who was ousted from his longtime job at the cable network in April.

Lemon reportedly got under the new boss’s skin on the very first day that he debuted on “CNN This Morning” after being booted from his customary primetime slot, angering Licht by returning from a break dressed in a flamboyant outfit of a white jacket and fur collar over a turtleneck sweater, according to The Atlantic.

“What the f**k is he wearing?” the CEO allegedly “blurted out” to the sound of “nervous chuckles,” after Lemon shed the wild garb and settled in with co-hosts Poppy Harlow and Kaitlan Collins. Licht was reportedly incensed when the host went rogue, botching the opening. “Read the f-cking prompter,” he said in frustration, the report states.

Licht was even less impressed by the particular segment which dealt with rapper Kanye West and his “saying crazy, hateful things for a long time, but corporate America had never abandoned him; only now, after his anti-Semitic rantings, were companies like Adidas dropping him,” the outlet reported. “Lemon was going to ask: Why did those sponsors stick with Ye after his offensive remarks about slavery and other topics, but choose to bail now over his anti-Semitism?”

“’Way too long—and it’s f**king morning time,’” Licht said, motioning toward the screen, which had displayed a graphic image of a tortured slave next to Lemon during his monologue. ‘This is morning television,’” according to The Atlantic, noting that Licht wanted Lemon to keep it light in the mornings.

Dealing with Lemon’s mercurial personality and quirks was but one of the problems faced by Licht who reportedly “felt he was on a mission to restore the network’s reputation for serious journalism” but soon found that cleaning up the toxic mess left behind by disgraced former boss Jeff Zucker was a far more daunting task than could be imagined.

Licht was repeatedly upset by Lemon’s antics, especially when the openly gay leftist made his infamous misogynist remarks about Nikki Haley, the former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations and South Carolina governor who had declared her GOP 2024 candidacy, saying that she was “not in her prime” and leading to a testy on-air exchange with his co-hosts, so angering Harlow that she reportedly stormed off the set for a bathroom break.

After the Haley debacle, top network exes urged Licht to fire Lemon who “for his part, ‘pitched an attempt at damage control — a prime-time special on misogyny, which he would host with a roundtable of women,” according to The Atlantic,” an idea that the CEO rejected.

As the firestorm of his sexist remarks raged, “Lemon began telling allies that Al Sharpton, Ben Crump, and other Black leaders would rally to his defense if he were fired, making his dismissal a referendum on CNN’s whiteness,” the outlet reported.

Lemon would continue for another two months, skating on thin ice that finally broke over his racist meltdown during a debate with another Republican hopeful, Vivek Ramaswamy that would be the final straw for Licht.

On April 24, days after he went off on Ramaswamy, Licht pulled the plug on the problem child, sending Lemon packing, the latest Zucker-era personality to be jettisoned, joining his primetime BFF Chris Cuomo and ex-chief media correspondent Brian Stelter among the ranks of former CNN employees.

“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,” Licht said in announcing Lemon’s departure.

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