Editor’s Note: Whether on screen or off, Hollywood can always be counted on to keep us entertained. This is especially true when it comes to politics. Liberty Nation’s Hollyweird column shines the spotlight on Tinseltown’s A-listers and their wild and wacky takes on today’s current events.
Don Lemon has made a name for himself as an overdramatic liberal who seems to be more interested in making people listen to his opinions than reporting the facts. He’s been quick to insult, scold, and essentially tick off guests and staff without a care. Now, though, the CNN This Morning co-host may have over-stepped the mark, and many are calling for his termination after he said GOP presidential candidate Nikki Haley was past her prime.
Sexist Comment from Lemon Draws Severe Criticism
During the Feb. 16 morning show, the crew discussed Haley’s entry into the 2024 presidential race and how she’d suggested that all politicians over the age of 75 should take mental competency tests. Lemon, 56, said, “She says people, you know, politicians are suddenly not in their prime. Nikki Haley isn’t in her prime.” Ms. Haley is 51 – five years younger than the CNN host. “I’m just saying Nikki Haley should be careful about saying that politicians are not in their prime. Nikki Haley isn’t in her prime, sorry,” Lemon said. “When a woman is considered to be in her prime is in her 20s and 30s and maybe 40s.”
Co-host Poppy Harlow was having none of that and cut him off, asking, “What are you talking about? Prime for what?”
Lemon, finally realizing the hole he’d just dug for himself, tried to explain his sexist comment by blaming it on Google. “It depends,” he argued. “It’s just like, prime. If you look it up. If you Google ‘What is a woman in her prime,’ it’ll say 20s, 30s, and 40s.”
CNN podcast host Audie Cornish set the record straight, pointing out, “The idea of prime that you Google on the internet, that’s about sexual and reproductive prime, that’s not actually about mental health and aging.”
But Lemon wasn’t ready to admit he was wrong or out of line and kept defending himself, using Google as his bases for truth and facts, and even telling viewers to look it up from home. “Don’t shoot the messenger, I’m just saying what the facts are,” he griped.
The network’s chairman, Chris Licht, was not happy with Lemon’s remarks, saying they were “upsetting, unacceptable and unfair.”
Finally, Lemon apologized – somewhat. “What I said came out wrong and I wish I hadn’t said it. I believe women of any age can do anything they set their minds to. The people I am closest to in this organization are women.”
An unnamed source reportedly told the New York Post, “He [Lemon] doubled-down by explaining his comments and then he said, ‘I’m friends with women so I can’t be sexist.’ Really Don? That’s like saying I have black friends so I can’t be racist.”
But Lemon, who can never just admit when he’s wrong, continued his non-apology: “I was trying to make the point that no one’s age should define their ambition or potential for success and I was saying those comments to Nikki Haley. I’m going to continue to be who I am.”
The CNN co-host has drawn the wrath of Ultraviolet, a women’s advocacy group. In a statement, the organization’s director of communications, Bridget Todd, said those kinds of statements have no place on CNN or anywhere else in the news media and that “this isn’t the first time Lemon’s bias against women has influenced his on-air reporting. From athletes to politicians and even his co-anchors, Lemon has used his power and platform to consistently undermine and demean powerful women.” She added that she hoped “this will be the last time Lemon’s misogynistic bias goes unchecked on-air.”
Haley took to Twitter to poke fun at Lemon, writing, “Liberals can’t stand the idea of having competency tests for older politicians to make sure they can do the job. BTW it’s always the liberals who are most sexist.” In another tweet, the presidential hopeful posted, “To be clear, I am NOT calling for competency tests for Sexist middle-aged CNN anchors.”
Are Women Past Their Prime in Politics?
A USA TODAY/Suffolk poll suggests voters prefer men over women and age is a factor. “Among those voters with a preference, men by 8-1 preferred a male president over a female one, 32%-4%. Women were somewhat more likely to prefer a male president as well, 25%-19%.” Regarding age, “The sweet spot is later middle age, between 51 and 65 years old, the age group chosen by 50% of those surveyed. An additional 25% picked earlier middle age, 35 to 50 years old.”
Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) recently announced her retirement. The 89-year-old is the only female among the ten oldest senators. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), also 89, was just re-elected in November to an eighth Senate term. Currently, there are 25 women in the Senate and 124 in the House, USA TODAY reported. “But the disparity in attitudes toward aging – also wrapped up in critiques of their appearance – can pose a double bind for women who aspire to the White House.”
The average age of a president for their first inauguration is 55. However, USA TODAY claims:
“But by the time women might be considered experienced enough for the Oval Office, they are close to hitting the mark where many question whether they are already obsolete.
“Past their prime, as some might say.”
Don Lemon’s remark seemed less about the prime age of a woman in politics and more like a personal slight of Haley. Instead of using his show as a platform to disparage those with whom he doesn’t agree, he could have done some investigative reporting to highlight this issue. Some critics have suggested he would not have responded the same way had a Democratic female presidential candidate made Haley’s age-related observation. Others claim the CNN co-host might have anyway because he’s demonstrated his disregard for women. In either case, his style of informing the public is more about theatrics, insults, and sensationalizing than fact-based, unbiased, responsible reporting.
Lemon is reportedly not appearing on Monday’s show.
Tune in next time to see what else Tinseltown has planned.
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