Don Lemon has declared he was fired by CNN for refusing to put “liars” and “bigots” on his news shows.
The ousted host, 57, who was sacked from the network in April following a 17-year stint there – as part of an apparent shake-up of its image as a liberal station – also insisted people have a duty to “stand up for what is right” so they can “fulfill the promise” of the US Constitution.
Don Lemon told ABC24 Memphis in his first sit-down interview since his dramatic departure from CNN: “We have to stand up for the truth. I don’t believe in platforming liars and bigots, insurrectionists and election deniers and putting them on the same footing as people who are telling the truth; people who are fighting for what’s right, people who are abiding by the Constitution.
Don Lemon added, “I think that would be a dereliction of journalistic duty to do those sorts of things.
Don Lemon continued, “I have a responsibility as an American – not only as a journalist – to tell the truth and abide by the promises of the Constitution.
“Because the Constitution says a more perfect union – not a perfect union. I’m not perfect. No one is.”
Since he was ousted from CNN, Don Lemon has maintained a relatively low profile, and told Page Six he was planning to “enjoy my summer, spend it on the beach and have a great time… that’s it!”
Don Lemon’s ousting was widely seen as part of a move by network boss Chris Licht’s campaign to shake up the network’s liberal-leaning image and reinvent it as a down-the-middle and facts-first news organisation.
It has been reported Don’s tensions with Chris, 51, dated back at least to last autumn, when the outlet said a wardrobe dispute erupted during a rehearsal.
The Atlantic said in early November, during a final rehearsal before the launch of ‘CNN This Morning’, Lemon baffled producers by arriving back on set from a break wearing a white jacket with fur collar over a turtleneck.
Chris is said to have asked in the control room: “What the f*** is he wearing?”, according to a first-hand account from Atlantic staff writer Tim Alberta, who was there working on a lengthy profile of the boss.
A junior producer was said to have reluctantly relayed Chris’ concern through Don’s earpiece, which apparently provoked a “miffed” look from the CNN host as he was allegedly told: “Don, uhh, we’re not too crazy about the jacket in here.”