Embattled CNN anchor Don Lemon has “zero defenders” left at the network source said, as it remains unclear whether he’ll be back on air Tuesday, sources told Page Six.
Lemon, 56, who has co-hosted “CNN This Morning” since its debut last November, is embroiled in a sexist scandal that’s threatening his future at the network.
“The big question is, is CNN going to keep Don off air on a day-to-day basis?” said one well-placed industry insider. “If they wanted to keep him, they would suspend him for two weeks and call it a day.”
Lemon missed Friday and Monday’s shows after he said on-air last week that GOP presidential candidate Nikki Haley, 51, “isn’t in her prime.” Now, CNN staffers are waiting for the anchor schedule to be released Monday evening to find out who is hosting Tuesday, Page Six is told.
Lemon has reportedly left Miami, where he spent the long weekend.
Things kicked off Thursday when Lemon told co-hosts Poppy Harlow and Kaitlan Collins that “a woman is considered to be in her prime in her 20s and 30s and maybe 40s,” in light of Haley saying politicians over the age of 75 should be required to undergo cognitive testing.
This prompted Harlow, 40, to walk off the set. Lemon later issued an apology.
“The outrage, internally, has not died down,” said the insider. “People are upset. He gave the worst apology ever and instead of going to the Hamptons to sit it out quietly, he went to Miami, stayed at a chi-chi hotel and got his photo taken.
“People are getting up at 3 a.m. to do their jobs on this show, so he was really poking the bear.”
According to CNN spokesperson Matt Dornic, Lemon was originally scheduled to be back in the anchor chair Monday but opted to take off for the Presidents’ Day holiday.
But the insider countered this: “Don was definitely scheduled to work Monday, and I can tell you he has zero defenders left.
“The idea of Don on this show was always a horrible idea and, to be honest, it was naive of [CNN CEO] Chris Licht to think it would work,” said the insider. “The three of them [Lemon, Harlow and Collins] are old friends, but they do not work together on TV.”
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