Embattled CNN anchor Don Lemon suffered another slip up Monday when he was caught disparaging Jon Stewart during a hot mic moment.
On his morning show, Lemon tossed to a clip of Jon Stewart interviewing US Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks, in which Stewart confronted the official about what he called extreme waste in the Defense Department’s $850million budget.
Hicks took issue with Stewart’s description of the issue, to which he replied: ‘I can’t figure out how $850billion to a department means that the rank and file still have to be on food stamps. To me, that’s f***ing corruption.’
As the video faded out, Lemon can be heard on his mic saying, ‘He gets a lot of leeway with the comedian thing, though.’ It seemed Lemon had been chatting with his co-anchors about Stewart during the time that the clip played.
CNN anchor Don Lemon was caught on a hot mic insulting Jon Stewart during the Monday morning broadcast of his struggling show
After a few seconds of silence, Lemon backtracked to say that Stewart is so much more than a comedian, a point that he then proceeded to repeat several times.
Stewart, in addition to being a comedian, has over the years become a staunch advocate for American servicemen and first responders.
He has lobbied lawmakers in Washington many times over issues like benefits for 9/11 first responders and healthcare coverage for servicemembers exposed to burn pits.
When Lemon realized what had happened, he attempted to run damage control on the situation by saying: ‘We were just discussing that Jon Stewart is so much more than a comedian. He is a thought leader.’
Lemon’s co-hosts Poppy Harlow and Kaitlan Collins added that Stewart, who currently host The Problem on Apple TV+, ‘needs no introduction’ due to his prolific advocacy for veterans’ rights.
‘Yeah, I was saying comedian and television host, he’s so much more than that,’ said Lemon, doubling down. ‘I don’t even know if you need to qualify Jon Stewart as that. But good interview there.’
Lemon has been the subject and cause of much tension at CNN of late, having, over the last several months made several on air comments that have provoked ire behind the scenes, in addition to reportedly bad behavior off-air.
Most recently, the former primetime talent was accused by women at the network of misogynistic behavior and being ‘disrespectful’ toward several members of the staff.
The allegations this time date back to 2008 – years before he was accused of being sexist toward GOP Candidate Nikki Haley when he she ‘isn’t in her prime.’
Sources told Variety that Lemon, 57, was rude to Nancy Grace on the air, and Soledad O’Brien during an editorial meeting attended by roughly 30 staffers.
Jon Stewart has established a reputation, in addition to being a comedian, for advocating on behalf of servicemembers and first responders
One senior executive told Variety at the time: ‘As fast as you could make a rule, Don would bend it.’
He has also clashed several times with former White House Correspondent and current co-host Kaitlan Collins live on air.
The pair have repeatedly spoken over one another and eventually, it was reported that their clashing resulted in a bust-up during which Lemon screamed at Collins on December 8. She reportedly ran from the set in tears.
After that, he was reportedly told to take a day to ‘cool off’ by boss Chris Licht but instead blew up at staffers after a company newsletter featured a story about his altercation with Collins.
Since the incident in December, Lemon has been sent to Memphis and on other assignments, while Collins worked remotely from Washington DC on several occasions in January.
He was also forced to undergo ‘formal training’ after making sexist comments about 2024 presidential hopeful Nikki Haley, 51, being past her prime.
After that comment, Lemon missed the show for three days straight, as insiders said he is aware that he is on his ‘final warning.’
Licht, who slammed Lemon’s remarks, sent a memo to staffers following the incident saying that Lemon agreed to participate in training.
Lemon is in hot water at CNN: Sources recently told Variety that Lemon was rude to Nancy Grace on the air, and Soledad O’Brien during an editorial meeting attended by roughly 30 staffers
Lemon’s actions toward women are coming to light, especially after he allegedly screamed at Kaitlan Collins off-air for interrupting him on December 8
According to a memo sent to staffers on, Licht said: ‘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.
‘It is important to me that CNN balances accountability with a fostering a culture in which people can own, learn and grow from their mistakes.’
Lemon returned to the show, but did not acknowledge the backlash he faced live on air – instead issued a groveling apology online moments before the show aired.
Licht previously said that the remarks were ‘upsetting, unacceptable and unfair to his co-hosts, and ultimately a huge distraction to the great work of this organization’ during an editorial call.