CNN CEO Chris Licht sent a memo to staff Monday announcing veteran anchor Don Lemon would no longer be a part of the network.
“CNN and Don have parted ways. Don will forever be a part of the CNN family, and we thank him for his contributions over the past 17 years,” said CNN CEO Chris Licht in the memo to staff. “We wish him well and will be cheering him on in his future endeavors,” CNN Business reports.
Lemon, however, expressed surprise with the ouster.
“I was informed this morning by my agent that I have been terminated at CCN. I am stunned,” he said in statement posted on Twitter.
“At no time was I ever given any indication that I would not be able to continue to do the work I have loved at the network,” Lemon added.
“After 17 years at CNN I would have thought that someone in management would have had the decency to tell me directly,” he noted.
The firing comes about two months after comments he made on “CNN This Morning,” when he argued that South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, who is campaigning for the presidency and called for older politicians to take mental competency tests, was past her prime.
He continued, stating that a women is “considered to be in their prime in 20s and 30s and maybe 40s.”
Lemon joined the network in 2006, leading to his own show, “Don Lemon Tonight,” which he hosted from 2014 to 2022.
He eventually became a co-host of the morning show with Kaitlan Collins and Poppy Harlow when he critiqued Nikki Haley, after which he was taken off the air.
Lemon expressed regret about his comments in a meeting with staff, stating “I believe that women of any age… can do whatever they set their minds to.”
“The people I am closest to in this organization are women,” he said. “The people I seek counsel from most in this organization are women.”