‘Crash and Burn’: The Last Straw That Made CNN Dump Don Lemon

After months of controversy, CNN has officially terminated longtime host Don Lemon from its programming, with a recent interview with GOP presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy being the final straw.

According to The New York Times, a heated debate about race with the Indian-American candidate just last week was the final straw for CNN higher-ups. The deterioration of the segment left Lemon’s co-host, Poppy Harlow, sitting silently beside Lemon, looking around the room and even scrolling on her smartphone. The debacle “left several CNN leaders exasperated,” according to The Times.

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During the exchange, Ramaswamy argued that the civil war was fought for “black people to have freedoms,” including the right to keep and bear arms. He also argued that it wasn’t until black Americans armed themselves with help from the NRA that full freedoms were granted, even after the war. Lemon, who supports heavy gun control and is a black man himself, asserted black people in America still don’t enjoy freedoms. When Ramaswamy pushed back, Lemon cut him off, telling him Ramaswamy could not speak on the issue due to the color of his skin.

“When you are in Black skin, you live in this country. Then you can disagree with me, but we’re not. You mentioned there are three different shades of melanin here?” Lemon said, referring to Harlow’s white skin color.

Later in the conversation, tensions rose even higher when Lemon categorized Ramaswamy as “Whatever ethnicity you are.”


RAMASWAMY: “Well, here’s where you and I have a different point of view. I think we should be able to express our views regardless of the color of our skin. We should have this debate without me, regarding you as a Black man, but me regarding you here as a fellow citizen.”

LEMON: “It’s insulting that you’re, that you’re sitting here whatever ethnicity you are splaining to me what it’s like to be Black in America.”

RAMASWAMY: “Whatever ethnicity I am?”

DON LEMON: “I’m sorry.”

VIVEK RAMASWAMY: “I’ll tell you what I am. I’m an Indian American. I’m proud of it. But I think we should have this debate. Black, and white doesn’t matter.”

This wasn’t an isolated incident. Lemon has been up to his neck in controversy over recent months, starting with his comments about GOP presidential candidate Nikki Haley and her age in February. Haley, who has been basing her campaign on calling for a “generational change” in politics, swiped at Joe Biden and Donald Trump by suggesting that candidates over the age of 75 be made to submit to a competency test.

Lemon scoffed at the idea then, claiming Haley wasn’t in her “prime.”

“This talk about age makes me uncomfortable.Nikki Haley is not in her prime, sorry. When a woman is considered to be in her prime, is her 20s and 30s and maybe 40s.”

“Wait… prime for what?” fellow CNN personality Poppy Harlow interjected. Harlow raised an important point, as physical and political primes are distinctly different. Lemon did not answer the question, defaulting to the Google definition to shift off responsibility for the slip.

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However, this did not save him from the backlash. Lemon later publicly apologized and was even forced to undergo sensitivity training.

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