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Embattled CNN This Morning anchor Don Lemon will return to the show Wednesday, CNN CEO Chris Licht told staff in a memo Monday night.
Licht added that Lemon, who has stepped away from the news network’s nascent morning show amid controversy over his comments about Nikki Haley, will participate in formal training before his return, although no details were provided on the type of training he would undertake.
“I 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. We take this situation very seriously,” Licht said in a memo sent Monday night that was obtained by The Hollywood Reporter.
“It is important to me that CNN balances accountability with fostering a culture in which people can own, learn and grow from their mistakes. To that end, Don will return to CNN This Morning on Wednesday,” Licht added.
A CNN rep declined to comment.
Last Thursday on CNN This Morning, Lemon was discussing Haley’s comments that there should be a mental competency test for any politician over age 75. (Both President Joe Biden and fellow Republican candidate Donald Trump are over the age of 75.)
While discussing her remarks, Lemon said that the former South Carolina governor, who is 51, wasn’t “in her prime.”
“Nikki Haley isn’t in her prime, sorry,” Lemon said on Thursday’s show. “A woman is considered to be in their prime in 20s and 30s and maybe 40s. If you Google ‘when is a woman in her prime,’ it’ll say 20s, 30s and 40s.”
Following widespread criticism, Lemon later tried to apologize for his comments on Twitter. “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 tweeted. “A woman’s age doesn’t define her either personally or professionally. I have countless women in my life who prove that every day.”
On Friday, Lemon offered an apology to co-workers during a daily editorial call at the news network.
Lemon took Presidents Day off from work, according to a person familiar with the situation, who added that it was not pre-planned prior to the events of last week but was related to the holiday. Lemon also had the day off Friday, but that had been scheduled before Thursday’s on-air comments that landed him in hot water.
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