Don Lemon feels ‘vindicated’ by Chris Licht’s ouster

Former CNN anchor Don Lemon says he felt “vindicated” by the removal of Chris Licht, the network’s former CEO, who took him off the air earlier this year.

“Read the story, and you speak to the people who are there, and I think people get what happened. All you have to do is read The Atlantic story, read the subsequent stories that came out, and how it played out,” Lemon said during an appearance on Kara Swisher’s podcast this week. “They’re gone now. So do I feel vindicated in that sense? Yes, I do.”

Lemon was fired by Licht in April after a string of on-air clashes with co-hosts and offensive comments about GOP presidential primary candidate Nikki Haley.

Licht himself was ousted by WarnerBros. Discovery, CNN’s parent company, in June after just more than a year on the job. His exit came days after a wide-ranging profile in The Atlantic painted him as presiding over a network in turmoil with a staff that was largely unsupportive of him.

Lemon said he was not given a chance to address the controversy his comments about Haley sparked on air. The then-CNN anchor apologized on social media in February amid backlash after asserting that the GOP presidential candidate was not “in her prime” due to her age.

“If you’re asking, so I’m going to speak the truth now — I was never allowed to address the issue on the air,” he told Swisher. “I wish that I could have, but I was never allowed to.”

Lemon, 57, did not provide any specifics on his plans for the future, but suggested he is not interested in retiring or staying out of the media business for very long.

“It’s going to be probably streaming and in the digital space. It doesn’t mean that I don’t want to work in traditional, linear television anymore, especially over the next 14 months. I expect to have a voice. So stay tuned for that,” he said.

“I have and had a very important voice that most people don’t get to hear on that platform and still don’t, and I expect that to continue,” he added, “but I am going to lean into the future of this medium and do something that scares me.”

Tags Chris Licht Chris Licht CNN Don Lemon Nikki Haley