According to reports, CNN’s Don Lemon is considering filing a lawsuit in response to a shocking Variety exposé that claimed he has a history of threatening and degrading female coworkers like Soledad O’Brien, Kyra Phillips, and Nancy Grace.
The troubled “CNN This Morning” co-host is “apoplectic” about Variety’s revelation and has “consulted attorneys about a possible lawsuit” against the entertainment journal, according to Insider on Wednesday. The co-host recently came under fire for making sexist statements on television.
According to a source close to Lemon, he is “playing it cool” on the outside, and CNN’s support of the host in the media demonstrates that they are “standing behind him.” According to a second media source, who was referring to CNN, “they’ve known for years.” Lemon won’t file a lawsuit since doing so would require them to depose witnesses and expose additional information.
Variety claimed on Wednesday that Lemon, who caused controversy in February by saying that GOP presidential candidate Nikki Haley, 51, was not “in her prime,” frequently behaved disrespectfully and “diva-like” with his female coworkers.
According to the story, the 57-year-old Lemon was allegedly envious in 2008 and seized the opportunity to call a female producer obese to her face, accuse O’Brien of not being black, and send Phillips a threatening text message.
After Variety broke a shocking piece detailing alleged bullying conduct in the past, Lemon is reportedly considering suing the magazine. When covering the fallout from the Iraq invasion in 2008 as co-anchor of CNN’s “Live From,” Lemon was passed up in favor of Phillips.
He allegedly tore up images and left them on Phillips’ desk after becoming enraged by the jealously, according to two sources who were employed by CNN at the time. Later, while out with her coworkers, she received a menacing text message from Lemon.
The text message Phillips received from an unknown number that was eventually linked to Lemon said, “Now you’ve crossed the line, and you’re going to pay for it.”
After looking into the text, CNN demoted Lemon to weekends and stripped him from his co-anchoring duties with Phillips, as reported by Variety. CNN defended Lemon on Wednesday, telling The Post that the Variety story provided “no actual proof” and “instead relies on anonymous sources” and “unsubstantiated claims from 10 to 15 years ago.”
The network reportedly said it is “unable to corroborate the alleged accounts,” forcing Lemon to attend “formal training” recently in response to his comments about Haley.
Lemon sent a statement through a spokeswoman, adding: “The report is entirely based on unsourced, unverified, 15-year-old anonymous hearsay and is replete with obviously untrue tales and no actual facts. Being so careless is both fantastic and terrible from Variety.
Employees at CNN are sick of the constant negative coverage of Lemon, who gained notoriety for berating “CNN This Morning” co-host Kaitlan Collins following a broadcast in December. One irate employee stated, “It makes us the story,” adding that everyone just wants to “get back to work.”
Since Chris Licht, the head of CNN, started the morning program in November, it has struggled in the ratings. The program was revamped with Lemon, Collins, and co-host Poppy Harlow.
In the first quarter, “CNN This Morning” had an average audience of 359,000 people, but when you take into account the simulcast on CNN sister station HLN, that show’s audience increases to 438,000 total viewers. In contrast, “Morning Joe” on MSNBC averaged 846,000 viewers overall, while “Fox & Friends” on Fox News Channel took first place with an average of 1.21 million people.