Don Lemon returned to his news show, CNN This Morning, four days after making sexist comments about presidential contender Nikki Haley. Last week, in a conversation with his two female co-hosts, Poppy Harlow and Kaitlan Collins, Lemon said the 51-year-old former U.N. Ambassador was past her prime since “a woman is considered to be in her prime in her 20s and 30s and maybe 40s.” CNN CEO Chris Licht told staffers Lemon would undergo “formal training,” although it’s unclear what that meant. And while some thought Lemon got off too easily, Straight Arrow News contributor Jordan Reid thinks the backlash went too far.
I love Don Lemon. I love Don Lemon happy. I love Don Lemon angry. I really love Don Lemon drunk and getting his ear pierced on live TV. I even, with caveats, love Don Lemon’s turtlenecks. I need everyone to back off of Don Lemon. Okay?
Okay, so last week the CNN anchor was opining on Nikki Haley’s presidential run. And he made the wildly unfortunate statement that at 51 Haley is not, quote, in her prime. I have to say I also love Poppy Harlow who we saw in that clip pushing back on Lemon and rightly, because what he said was obviously sexist.
It reduces a woman’s worth to her childbearing abilities. It’s not cool. I also doubt it’s entirely what he meant. What he meant, I would venture, was that Nikki Haley should not be president. I agree. What Lemon was pointing out, via an admittedly dumb offhand statement, was that Haley’s call for vetting candidates based on their age is not an excellent platform to run on, not to mention being wholly unconstitutional. See, the Constitution would literally have to be amended in order to stop all these geriatric white men from holding office and I don’t see that happening anytime soon.
I understand why Lemon’s co-host and a significant number of women across the country felt angered by his remarks. They made me feel bad. What women face from society as they age out of what the heterosexual male gaze considers desirable is frankly awful. But one of the wonderful things about women, in my opinion, is that they have this stunning ability to shapeshift, to grow new superpowers, while they let old ones that no longer serve them go.