It appears that Don Lemon will not be suspended or terminated from his role at CNN following his misogynistic statement claiming that Nikki Haley at 51, was past her prime and perhaps unfit to run for office. According to the most recent report, he has received a final warning from CNN. Lemon made that statement in response to Haley questioning whether Biden at 80 or Trump at 76, are too old to be President. That’s not unreasonable or partisan. He literally blamed a search engine for his stupidity. He stated that Nikki Haley was past her prime because Google said that a woman is in her prime when she’s in her 20’s, 30’s and 40’s. Haley would therefore be unfit or past her prime to run for office. It came off so badly, that all Poppy Harlow could do was sit there and watch in disbelief. Since Americans can’t run for President until 35-years of age, the window of opportunity to run, would be quite short if 51 was the cutoff. I’m unsure if Lemon actually knew how young she is.
In response to all of the backlash the network has received, CNN business reported that Lemon sat down with network President Chris Licht and had “a frank and meaningful conversation.” After the conversation according to Licht, “Lemon agreed to formal training as well as continuing to listen and learn.” That doesn’t sound like much of a punishment, but apparently the President of CNN feels like that’s more than enough. Of course, the ratings will ultimately determine Lemon’s fate. For now, however, it appears he’s safe. Later, Licht said, “it is important to me that CNN balances accountability with fostering a culture in which people can own, learn and grow from their mistakes.” Understandable I suppose, but it’s difficult for me to believe that Lemon didn’t understand what he was saying, as he said it.
Don Lemon should have received at least, a suspension from the network. Time away from the studio and the spotlight would have afforded him time to think about what he actually said. I believe in forgiveness, but some things are not so cut and dry. Lemon believed he was justified in his assessment of Haley, because, as a conservative woman, a Republican, she was not worthy of dignity or of his respect, even though he didn’t realize that he was insulting all women. And therein lies the biggest problem of being an extremist on either side. There is no middle ground. There’s no possible way to understand what the other side is thinking or why they believe what they do. He saw Haley as he sees Trump and that is wrong and unfair. No difference. But even if she does believe in some of Trump’s policies, that doesn’t make her a bad person and is not a legitimate reason to demonstrate such a lack of respect.
Hopefully Don Lemon learned something from this experience. Perhaps he will learn something from training and speaking to women at the network. Only time will tell. But one thing he needs to seriously reflect on, are all the women in his life, as he stated in his apology. Women deserve respect even if they’re from the other party. They deserve respect even if he doesn’t understand them, or how they could believe what they do. This is an important message not just for Lemon, but for all of us. You don’t need to agree with your adversaries, but you do need to respect and attempt to understand them. Saying they’re wrong or crazy, simply because you disagree with them, is not a solution. If we are to ever return to civil discourse in this country, we need to return to civility. Maybe it starts with Don Lemon.