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Don Lemon Gives Weak Apology For Calling Nikki Haley (and Lots of Other Women) Past Her Prime

The CNN anchor cites his many female friendships to showcase his remorse.
  • Longtime CNN anchor Don Lemon (Photo: Kristin Callahan/Everett Collection)
    Longtime CNN anchor Don Lemon (Photo: Kristin Callahan/Everett Collection)

    CNN anchor Don Lemon issued a weak apology to his co-workers, in which he referenced his many female friendships, after making controversial remarks about presidential candidate Nikki Haley — and really, most women over 20 — being past her prime at a certain age.

    "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to hurt anyone. I did not mean to offend anyone," said Lemon during an editorial call this morning, as reported by the Daily Beast. "What I said came out wrong and I wish I hadn't said it. I believe women of any age can do anything they set their minds to. The people I am closest to in this organization are women."

    Lemon reportedly scheduled a day off on Friday, but called into the meeting to make his mea culpa. “When I make a mistake. I own it and I own this one as well. I understand why you are upset and disappointed,” he told his CNN colleagues. However, TMZ also reported that his apology fell flat among staffers, calling him “tone deaf” because he appeared to be “giving himself kudos for owning his mistake.”

    Lemon’s apology is in reference to statements he made during Thursday’s episode of CNN This Morning, where he and his co-hosts discussed former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley’s presidential campaign and her calls for “mandatory mental competency tests” for politicians over 75.

    The conversation veered in a separate direction when Lemon ridiculously declared that according to Google, a woman is “considered to be in her prime in her 20s and 30s and maybe 40s.” Given how much there is to actually criticize about her candidacy that doesn’t resort to misogyny, it’s baffling that Lemon would use tired sexist talking points about Haley’s age.

    Lemon's "I have lots of women friends" atoning to his fellow CNN staffers comes after issuing a public apology on Thursday evening, when he tweeted “The reference I made to a woman’s ‘prime’ this morning was inartful and irrelevant, as colleagues and loved ones have pointed out, and I regret it. A woman’s age doesn’t define her either personally or professionally. I have countless women in my life who prove that every day." 

    Dianna Shen is a TV Writer at Primetimer based in New York. Her work has been featured in Paste Magazine and Decider, among other outlets.

    TOPICS: Don Lemon, CNN, Nikki Haley