Don Lemon will be absent from Monday’s episode of CNN This Morning, after making a sexist remark in reference to Nikki Haley, last week. Lemon had been speaking with co-anchor Poppy Harlow about Haley’s candidacy for the 2024 U.S. presidential election and said that “a woman is considered to be in their prime in 20s and 30s and maybe 40s.” When Harlow asked Lemon to clarify what he meant, he replied: “If you Google ‘when is a woman in her prime,’ it’ll say 20s, 30s, and 40s.”

Lemon later apologized for the comment in a tweet posted on Thursday night. “The reference I made to a woman’s ‘prime’ this morning was inartful and irrelevant, as colleagues and loved ones have pointed out, and I regret it,” he wrote. “A woman’s age doesn’t define her either personally or professionally. I have countless women in my life who prove that every day.” Lemon further apologized on an editorial call with staffers the next morning. “I’m sorry that I said it,” Lemon said. “And I certainly see why people found it completely misguided. When I make a mistake, I own it. And I own this one as well.”

Don Lemon’s Apology

On the same call, CNN CEO Chris Licht labeled the comments “disappointing.” He said: “His remarks were upsetting, unacceptable, and unfair to his co-hosts, and ultimately a huge distraction to the great work of this organization.” Additionally, a person familiar with the matter told Confider: “There are ongoing conversations about Don’s future. He is a constant distraction.” Nikki Haley responded to Lemon’s comments on Twitter: “To be clear, I am NOT calling for competency tests for Sexist middle-aged CNN anchors; only for people who make our laws and are 75+.” Haley had called for competency tests for politicians over 75 years old during her candidacy announcement on Wednesday.

Don Lemon joined CNN in September 2006. At the network, he served as the host of Don Lemon Tonight from 2014 to 2022. He’s previously won an Edward R. Murrow Award as well as three regional Emmy Awards. For now, he hosts CNN This Morning alongside Kaitlan Collins and Poppy Harlow.