Last week, Variety published a scathing report on CNN’s embattled host Don Lemon that featured current and former CNN staffers describing his history of misogyny toward his colleagues. Among the many revelations in the Variety report is that Lemon once openly dated a junior male staffer who was nearly 20 years his junior.
The report describes Lemon’s rude and bullying “diva-like” behavior, especially toward his female colleagues, including once telling a female producer that she was fat.
In 2008, Lemon sent anonymous threats by text to his “Live From” coanchor Kyra Phillips after she landed a reporting gig in Iraq that he wanted for himself. He also accused former CNN host Soledad O’Brien of not being sufficiently black.
Additionally, Variety reported that before he officially came “out of the closet,” Lemon got embroiled in a romantic relationship with a “fresh-out-of-college” male staffer despite the “major age difference and power imbalance.”
According to Variety, Lemon was 41 at the time and the staffer was only 22.
Variety reported that during the time to pair was romantically linked, they would drive to work together every day, despite the affair being “frowned upon” at the time.
One former CNN executive told Variety that once a rule was made, Lemon would find a way to “bend it.”
In response to the scathing report, CNN defended its embattled host. In a press statement last Wednesday, CNN noted that Variety reporter Tatiana Siegel offered “no actual proof” but relied on anonymous sources and 10- to 15-year-old “unsubstantiated claims,” according to the New York Post.
Insider reported on Wednesday that an “apoplectic” Don Lemon has consulted with lawyers about a possible lawsuit over Variety’s report.
However, one source told Insider that Lemon would never sue the outlet because doing so would mean people would get deposed, which would run the risk of more stuff about Lemon’s behavior coming to light.