CNN To Pay Don Lemon $24.5 Million Separation Deal

Nearly a year following his termination, Don Lemon, former prime-time host at CNN, is said to be set to receive approximately $24.5 million in a settlement with the news organization.

The settlement was reported by TheWrap on Monday, and would match the amount that Lemon would have earned if he had continued working at CNN until the conclusion of his contract, which was scheduled to end three-and-a-half years after his dismissal. 

However, a CNN spokesperson denied the report to the New York Post on Tuesday, saying, “While we never comment on specifics of any employee contract, this story is incorrect.” 

The spokesperson did not immediately respond to questions regarding whether the network was refuting the existence of the settlement or simply disputing the specific amount reported by TheWrap. 

Don Lemon was fired by CNN in April 2023, when then-CNN chairman and CEO Chris Licht announced that they had “parted ways.” Lemon, however, characterized the move as a firing, and expressed surprise. 

“After 17 years at CNN I would have thought someone in management would have the decency to tell me directly,” Lemon said in a social media post. 

“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,” he continued. “It is clear that there are some larger issues at play.”

CNN claimed that Lemon had the opportunity to meet with management, but reportedly refused. 

During a February 2023 discussion on “CNN This Morning” about the ages of politicians, Lemon remarked that 51-year-old Nikki Haley was no longer “in her prime,” and then suggested that a woman’s prime is typically “in her 20s, 30s, and maybe her 40s.”

Co-host Poppy Harlow asked Lemon whether he meant prime for childbearing or holding office as president, to which Lemon replied, “Don’t shoot the messenger, I’m just stating the facts.”

Later that day, Lemon released a statement apologizing for his “inartful and irrelevant” comments and was absent from the show for three days. 

CNN did not provide a public explanation for Lemon’s dismissal. 

Elon Musk’s X announced in January that it had partnered with Lemon, along with Tulsi Gabbard and Jim Rome, to develop shows exclusively for the platform. 

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