- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 21, 2023

Don Lemon will undergo “formal training” and will return to the air Wednesday after making sexist comments about Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley, CNN CEO Chris Licht told staff in a memo.

Mr. Licht said in the memo that he “sat down with Don and had a frank and meaningful conversation. He has agreed to participate in formal training, as well as continuing to listen and learn. … Don will return to ‘CNN This Morning’ on Wednesday.”

Women involved in some high-profile sexual harassment cases reacted to the news with guffaws and derision.

Independent journalist and former Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly tweeted of Mr. Lemon’s apparent punishment by CNN, “What a joke. ‘Formal training’ on what? How to be a decent human being? Good luck.”

Mr. Lemon said on the air last Thursday that Mrs. Haley, 51, “isn’t in her prime.”

Challenged by co-host Poppy Harlow, Mr. Lemon doubled down, saying, “Don’t shoot the messenger. I’m just saying what the facts are.”

He later apologized. He has not been on the air since.

David Lieberman, associate professor of professional practice in media management in the School of Media Studies at The New School, said Mr. Lemon’s career likely can survive the furor. He said the public doesn’t pay as much attention as media insiders do to such episodes.

“The things that matter to CNN are the three R’s: reputation, ratings and revenue,” Mr. Lieberman said. “This won’t have any impact on revenue, it won’t have any impact on ratings, but your reputation? It’s a small thing, but it doesn’t help.” He said the controversy pales in comparison to the network’s ratings concerns.

“They’ve got big issues to deal with.” Mr. Lieberman said. “I wouldn’t put this in the same category. They just need to figure out who they are and how they want to program.”

In addition to Ms. Kelly, other women joined the chorus online Wednesday to question CNN‘s strategy.

Lindsey Boylan, whose sexual harassment accusations against former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo helped to oust him from office, expressed skepticism that Mr. Lemon will change his ways.

Don Lemon has agreed to participate in formal training so he can hide his misogynistic views better,” Ms. Boylan tweeted.

Former Fox News host Gretchen Carlson, who along with Ms. Kelly had accused the late network chief Roger Ailes of sexual harassment, tweeted that the Lemon case is a “perfect example of what’s wrong w/ our culture.”

“Men make misogynistic comments & are offered ‘formal training’ & survive,” Ms. Carlson tweeted. “Women who simply have the courage to come forward to report misogyny, harassment etc — get the shaft and never work again.”

Ms. Kelly also offered some tips for Mr. Lemon on how not to be a misogynist. The advice includes:

— “Women are not damaged goods when they hit 40.”

— “Rape victims don’t need your lecture on how to respond to their rape.”

— “Screaming at your female co-anchor [because] she interrupted you to the point where she runs away is considered rude & unprofessional.”

— “Postponing an ad break to mansplain to said co-anchor in front of the audience how to properly conduct an interview is an act of douchebaggery.”

— “Defending sexism w/ ‘some of my best friends are’ (in the group I attacked) [would] not excuse racism & it doesn’t excuse sexism.”

— “‘I’m going to continue to be me’ is not an acceptable plan when ‘me’ loathes women.”

— “When under fire for misogyny, try to at least look/act sorry.”

Comedian Samantha Bee had a succinct reaction to the news that Mr. Lemon will undergo training: “I’ll teach it,” she tweeted. 

• Dave Boyer can be reached at dboyer@washingtontimes.com.

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