‘I’m Not a Perfect Person’

  • Former CNN anchor Don Lemon is speaking out two months after he was ousted from the anchor’s chair.
  • Lemon, who worked at CNN for 17 years, told ABC24 Memphis he wasn’t in a “rush” to land a new gig.
  • “I know people say, ‘I miss you on television. What is your next move?’ I’m figuring that out,” he said.

Former CNN anchor Don Lemon in a recent interview spoke of his commitment to the pursuit of truth two months after his ouster from the network that employed him for 17 years.

“I have a responsibility — not only as a journalist but as an American — to tell the truth and to abide by the promises of the Constitution,” he told ABC24 Memphis. “Because the Constitution says a more perfect union, not a perfect union. I’m not a perfect person. No one is.”

“In order to fulfill the promise of the Constitution, we have to stand up for what is right. We have to stand up for the truth,” he continued.

Lemon then went on to explain his journalistic philosophy, built on his decades of experience in the field.

“I don’t believe in platforming liars and bigots, insurrectionists and election deniers and putting them on the same footing as people who are telling the truth; people who are fighting for what’s right, people who are abiding by the Constitution,” he said. “I think that would be a dereliction of journalistic duty to do those sorts of things.” 

When asked what his future plans might entail, Lemon said that he wasn’t in a hurry to pursue a new opportunity.

“I’m not going to force anything,” he told the Memphis, Tenn.-area ABC affiliate. I’m not going to let other people’s time line influence me. I know people say, ‘I miss you on television. What is your next move?’ I’m figuring that out.”

“I don’t have to be in a rush,” he continued to say. “I think people rush and they end up making the wrong the decisions. I’m not rushing into anything.”

Lemon was once one of the most visible faces on the network, from his early days as an anchor and correspondent to hosting his primetime show “Don Lemon Tonight” before joining the “CNN This Morning” program late last year.

But there had reportedly been some tension on the morning program for some time, which reached a fever pitch with Lemon’s February remark that 2024 Republican presidential candidate and former Gov. Nikki Haley of South Carolina was no longer “in her prime” as a woman in her 50s. Lemon later apologized for his comments, calling them “inartful and irrelevant” and praising the women in his life.

Then-CNN chief executive officer Chris Licht rebuked Lemon in a network call shortly after his remarks about Haley, but the network stood by Lemon after a Variety article published in April alleged a series of misogynistic behavior from the veteran journalist. In a statement, CNN criticized the report.

“The Variety story provides no actual proof and instead relies on anonymous sources and unsubstantiated claims from 10 to 15 years ago. CNN is unable to corroborate the alleged accounts,” the network said at the time.

However, when Lemon was ousted later that month, he said that he was “stunned” by the decision and called out CNN for what he said was their lack of “decency” in informing him of the decision personally.

CNN then said that they had afforded Lemon a chance to speak with management but added that the journalist had instead chosen to tweet about the situation.

After a turbulent 13-month tenure at the helm of CNN, Licht was also fired from his position earlier this month.

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