Don Lemon Threatened CNN with Al Sharpton Shakedown If Network Fired Him

Ex-CNN star Don Lemon threatened CNN with an Al Sharpton shakedown if the network went ahead and fired him, according to a bombshell new report.

The report is from The Atlantic’s Tim Alberta, who profiled new CNN boss Chris Licht.

The report details some extraordinary behind-the-scenes action at CNN.

The backlash to the report was instant and severe, causing Licht to issue an apology to CNN workers today

He told them: “To those whose trust I’ve lost, I will fight like hell to win it back, because you deserve a leader who will be in the trenches, fighting to ensure CNN remains the world’s most trusted name in news.”

According to the Report: “Licht could not, however, blame Zucker for what had become his biggest problem: Don Lemon.

“In the middle of February, several weeks before I joined Licht for his morning workout, Lemon set social media ablaze—and infuriated Harlow and Collins, his co-hosts—by asserting that 51-year-old Nikki Haley ‘isn’t in her prime.’

“A woman is only in her prime, Lemon explained, ‘in her 20s, 30s, and maybe her 40s.’

“This was just the latest in a string of offenses.

“For months, Lemon had been making the control room cringe with half-baked opinions, irritating Harlow and Collins by forcing his way into every segment and angering Licht by adding the sort of superfluous commentary the boss had explicitly warned against.

“Tensions were already high when, one day in December, Collins started to interrupt Lemon during a news report.

“Lemon continued speaking and held up a finger to shush her—’stand by, one second,’ he said—and then, after the segment, berated her in front of the crew.

“Their relationship would never recover,” Alberta revealed.

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“By the time Lemon made the ‘prime’ remark, Licht was confronting the reality that his morning show might be a bust.

“There was no neat solution to the Lemon problem.

“Top executives urged Licht to fire him; Licht, knowing it would be seen as a response to the Haley episode, worried about setting a harsh precedent.

“Lemon pitched an attempt at damage control—a prime-time special on misogyny, which he would host with a roundtable of women—and Licht rejected it.

“Then, a staffer close to Licht told me, 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.

“A spokesperson for Lemon denied this and accused Licht’s team of spreading rumors about him to distract from Licht’s failures at CNN,” the report said.

READ MORE: Al Sharpton Humiliated as Jordan Neely’s Uncle Arrested Again in NYC

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By David Hawkins

David Hawkins is a writer who specializes in political commentary and world affairs. He's been writing professionally since 2014.

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