“[I look forward to] actually figuring it out. I love a challenge and so that’s what I’m looking forward to — figuring out what I’m doing,” the journalist, 57, exclusively told Us Weekly at the Time100 red carpet on Wednesday, April 26.
After nearly two decades at CNN, Lemon shocked viewers when he announced he was fired by the network.
“I was informed this morning by my agent that I have been terminated by CNN,” he wrote in a social media statement on Monday, April 24. “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.”
The broadcaster, who hosted an episode of CNN This Morning earlier that day, alleged the exit was not his decision. “It is clear that there are some larger issues at play,” his statement continued. “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.”
CNN, however, issued a response to Lemon’s claims through their communications team. “Don Lemon’s statement about this morning’s events is inaccurate,” their Twitter post read. “He was offered an opportunity to meet with management but instead released a statement on Twitter.”
The network originally released a separate statement about Lemon’s departure, which read, “CNN and Don have parted ways. Don will forever be a part of the CNN family, and we thank him for his contributions over the past 17 years. We wish him well and will be cheering him on in his future endeavors.”
The news came weeks after Variety released an exposé about Lemon’s alleged misogynist behavior.
Lemon recently made headlines for his comments about former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley when the former Today correspondent said Haley, 51, “isn’t in her prime” while discussing her plans to run for president.
“Don’t shoot the messenger, I’m just saying what the facts are,” Lemon told cohost Poppy Harlow on a February episode of CNN This Morning. “Nikki Haley should be careful about saying that politicians are not in their prime, and they need to be in their prime when they serve. Because she wouldn’t be in her prime, according to Google or whatever it is.”
Lemon was promptly taken off the air after issuing an apology. He returned to the show later that month. Amid the termination drama, Lemon received some support from his friends and colleagues.
Sunny Hostin used her platform on The View to publicly defend the Louisiana native, saying on Tuesday, April 25, “I know that I’m biased here because Don is my friend and he has been my friend for 20 years. I will say I don’t believe — in my experience with him — that he’s a misogynist.”
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Meanwhile, Megyn Kelly called out CNN for the way they delivered the news to Lemon. “He’s got a right to complain about that,” she said on an episode of SiriusXM’s The Megyn Kelly Show, referring to how Lemon was fired through his agent.
With reporting by Christina Garibaldi