CNN President Chris Licht Condemns Don Lemon’s ‘Upsetting’ Remarks About Nikki Haley

[Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for CNN/Photo by Ben Gabbe/Getty Images for The Association of Magazine Media]

Nicole Silverio Media Reporter
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CNN President Chris Licht condemned anchor Don Lemon’s “upsetting” remarks about Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley being past her “prime” age.

Lemon said 51-year-old Haley is not in her “prime,” since women are considered to be in that stage in their twenties, thirties and forties, during a Thursday segment of “CNN This Morning.” The remark caused an uproar for widely being regarded as sexist, and Lemon suddenly did not appear on the program the following day.

Licht addressed Lemon’s remarks Friday during his daily 9:00 a.m. editorial meeting, calling it “unacceptable and unfair” to his two co-hosts, Poppy Harlow and former Daily Caller reporter Kaitlan Collins, according to The New York Times.

“His remarks were upsetting, unacceptable and unfair to his co-hosts, and ultimately a huge distraction to the great work of this organization,” Licht said.

Lemon reportedly apologized to his staffers during a six-minute monologue on the call. He said his “closest” friends in the newsroom are women, specifically naming anchors Erin Burnett and Dana Bash, The New York Times reported.

“I am sorry,” he reportedly said. “I did not mean to hurt anyone. I did not mean to offend anyone.”

"CNN This Morning" hosts: Poppy Harlow, Don Lemon, Kaitlan Collins [Screenshot/YouTube/CNN]

“CNN This Morning” hosts: Poppy Harlow, Don Lemon, Kaitlan Collins

Lemon made the comments about Haley while addressing the candidate’s call during her Wednesday campaign speech for presidential candidates over the age of 75 to undergo mandatory mental acuity tests. The CNN anchor was replaced by anchor Audia Cornish during Friday’s program, and Collins announced he was off that day. (RELATED: Don Lemon Apologizes For Insulting Comment About Nikki Haley’s Age) 

“I think it’s the wrong road to go down,” Lemon said Thursday. “She says people, you know, politicians, are suddenly not in their prime. Nikki Haley isn’t in her prime. Sorry, when a woman is considered to be in her prime [is] in [her] 20s and 30s and maybe 40s.”

Co-anchor Poppy Harlow pushed back against Lemon, who defended himself by saying it is an “objective” fact that women are past their prime by age 50.

Haley called his comments “sexist” in a Thursday afternoon statement.

“Liberals can’t stand the idea of having competency tests for older politicians to make sure they can do the job,” she wrote. “BTW it’s always the liberals who are most sexist.”

Lemon publicly apologized for the incident by pointing out that a woman’s age “doesn’t define” her professional abilities.

“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,” he said. “A woman’s age doesn’t define her either personally or professionally. I have countless women in my life who prove that every day.”