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At an industry conference on Thursday, CNN anchor Don Lemon revealed the depth of the harassment he has endured since becoming a high-profile target of President Donald Trump and his supporters.
“I was doing a shoot in the park the other day and someone said, ‘We built this country. I can’t wait for CNN to fire your black ass, you faggot,'” Lemon told the crowd.
The anchor said the president’s attacks “take a toll on me, on my privacy and safety and security, and the safety and security of my family.”
Lemon said he gets regular calls from a Trump supporter who doesn’t like him. He also said he receives stacks of junk mail from people who have figured out his address.
“People call the authorities and accuse me of doing certain things,” Lemon said.
While the anchor professed to love his job, he said, “I wonder how long I will continue to do this particular job in the way I do it,” citing the toxicity of the political-media climate.
Added Lemon, “It ain’t easy, but I don’t plan to give up.”
Lemon has long been mocked on social media by the president, who on May 23 on Twitter called him “the dumbest man on television.” “Don Lemon is a lightweight – dumb as a rock,” Trump wrote in August 2016.
But the anchor said Thursday that he’s decided “not to punch down” by responding to the president’s insults: “A cable news anchor saying, ‘I don’t punch down at the president.’ That’s where we are.”
Lemon’s CNN colleagues have also faced threats to their security. CNN contributor April Ryan, a White House reporter, pays to have her own bodyguard, while Lemon’s lead-in and friend, Chris Cuomo, was “SWAT-ed” in January, with police called to his Long Island home on a false report.
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