Report: Don Lemon Has Last Laugh As CNN Pays Out Monster Settlement

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Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File

Former CNN host Don Lemon is laughing all the way to the bank. 

According to a report from The Wrap, Lemon will receive a settlement from CNN of around $24.5 million, equivalent to his entire pay package for the rest of his original contract, which had three and a half years left to run. 

Lemon’s position at the network came under pressure after he was downgraded from his nightly show to a less prestigious morning slot. On that show, he drove further scrutiny after remarking that Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley was past her prime.

In a recording obtained by the New York Times, former CEO Chris Licht told employees that Lemon’s remarks were “upsetting, unacceptable and unfair to his co-hosts, and ultimately a huge distraction to the great work of this organization.”

Lemon was fired by CNN soon afterward, a decision that he said left him “stunned” and had been taken with a lack of “decency.” He wrote on social media at the time:

I was informed by my agent this morning that I have been terminated by CNN. I am stunned. After 17 years at CNN I would have thought that someone in management would have had the decency to tell me directly. 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.

It is clear that there are some larger issues at play. With that said, I want to thank my colleagues and the many teams I have worked with for an incredible run. They are the most talented journalists in the business and I wish them all the best.

The firing consequently led to a dispute of how much the company would pay out in compensation and it appears the answer is the full amount. 

In an interview with Kara Swisher soon after his firing, Lemon claimed that CNN simply wanted to go in a different “direction” from his brand of content. 

He explained:

CNN, the strategy and their content and the direction they wanted to go in, I was not a part of that. They did not want me to be a part of that, and I think that has, from what has played out publicly as it relates to CNN, as it relates to management, and what they’re doing now, I think that it’s obvious that they didn’t want me to be a part of that.

Lemon’s settlement will be far from the only significant payday he receives this year. Last month, it was announced that he would be launching his own show exclusively on the X platform, which Lemon praised as the “biggest space for free speech in the world. 

“I’ve heard you … and today I am back bigger, bolder, freer!” Lemon wrote at the time. “My new media company’s first project is The Don Lemon Show. It will be available to everyone, easily, whenever you want it, streaming on the platforms where the conversations are happening.”

The show, which reportedly came with a “hefty price tag” for owner Elon Musk is expected to launch in the coming weeks. He will join former Fox News host Tucker Carlson in posting exclusively to the X platform. 

 

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