Don Lemon Threatened Coworker, Acted Like ‘Diva’ For 15 Years, Says Report

A new, extensive report published Wednesday landed CNN host Don Lemon in hot water, alleging rampant “diva-like” behavior throughout his 15-year career with the network, including sending threatening text messages to one colleague. Lemon has been on a downward spiral since losing his primetime slot last year, with his new morning show reportedly being a ratings flop. Lemon had recently survived another on-air controversy in February when he suggested that women over 40 are “past their prime.” The CNN host vehemently denies the allegations laid out against him.

The lengthy, 2500-word report from Variety details several shocking claims about Lemon dating back to the early 2000s. In one instance said to have occurred in 2006, the CNN host reportedly threatened colleague Kyra Philips through multiple text messages after she was offered a high-profile gig in Iraq instead of Lemon.

“One night while dining with members of the news team, she received the first of two threatening text messages from an unknown number on her flip phone that warned, ‘Now you’ve crossed the line, and you’re going to pay for it.’ Phillips was visibly rattled and quickly enlisted CNN’s higher ups to identify the sender.

Remarkably, the texts were traced back to Lemon, according to those same sources.”

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The report also accused Lemon of having an inappropriate relationship with a “fresh-out-of-college staffer” around that time, despite a “major age difference and power imbalance.” Lemon would have been 41 years old, and the staffer 22 years old.

The report continued,

“More troubling was his misogynistic behavior, multiple sources say. Lemon called one of his producers fat to her face. Not long before he was identified as sending threatening texts to Phillips, he mocked [Nancy Grace] on air by mimicking her, shocking fellow colleagues.”

Grace reportedly declined to comment, but Variety cited someone “close to her,” adding that Grace views Lemon as “an ass.”

“That was the beginning of when you knew that Don was kind of volatile and didn’t say good things about women,” a witness to the Grace incident reportedly told Variety.

“He became increasingly polarizing, particularly when it came to discussing women, which sometimes came off as tone-deaf. In 2014, he drew widespread condemnation when he told a Bill Cosby rape accuser that she could have stopped an attack by biting the comedian’s penis.”

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The Variety report follows less than two months after Lemon landed in hot water for comments about 2024 candidate Nikki Haley’s age. During a segment about the candidate, Lemon described on-air how women over 40 are “past their prime,” leading CNN to issue an apology and force Lemon to take sensitivity training.

In response to the latest report, a spokesman for Lemon told The Times,

“The story, which is riddled with patently false anecdotes and no concrete evidence, is entirely based on unsourced, unsubstantiated, 15-year-old anonymous gossip… It’s amazing and disappointing that Variety would be so reckless.”

The network has also stood by Lemon, stating on Wednesday that,

“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.”

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