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Furious female staffers at CNN have threatened to quit if Don Lemon stays on-air following his sexist comments last week that women in their 40s are ‘past their prime’.

With speculation rife that the embattled host, 56, could exit the troubled network imminently, a source close to the ‘most busted name in news’ told DailyMail.com, ‘if Don doesn’t go, others have threatened to quit’.

‘People are hurt by his actions and are not going to let this go. It is like every woman over 50 in America has taken this as a personal insult. The female staffers at CNN definitely have. He needs to make his vacation a permanent one.’

Indeed, another CNN insider said ‘the women of CNN are angry. He’s made it impossible to do their jobs. He’s an embarrassment to the network and needs to go.’

When approached for comment on female staffers threatening to exit unless Lemon does, a CNN spokesperson replied, ‘nothing in your email rings true’.

Don Lemon was seen in Miami over the weekend as furor over his comments about women's prime rocked CNN

Don Lemon was seen in Miami over the weekend as furor over his comments about women’s prime rocked CNN

When asked if it was true that Don Lemon is being inched towards the exit door in the wake of this latest scandal, another spokesperson for CNN told DailyMail.com, ‘it is patently false to say Don is being pushed to resign’.

However, the source at CNN was adamant, ‘CNN has been literally, flooded like a tidal wave with extremely angry and offended loyal viewers’.

‘There is not one person at CNN who that thinks that he should remain on air. He knows how badly he screwed up and he also knows that he cannot talk his way out of this one. His apology meant nothing.’

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The anchor made his comments on last Thursday’s segment of CNN This morning, as he and co-hosts Kaitlan Collins and Poppy Harlow discussed Nikki Haley’s proposal that politicians ages 75 and up should face mental competency tests.

Lemon, who at 56 is five years older than Haley, 51, said the politician should tread lightly on the topic because ‘a woman is in their prime in 20s and 30s and maybe 40s.’

Lemon has made several apologies over his remarks, including sending off a tweet shortly after the show, and saying he was sorry to staff during an editorial call.

‘I’m sorry I don’t mean to hurt anyone. I did not mean to offend anyone,’ he said during the call. ‘What I said came out wrong and I wish I hadn’t said it. I believe women of any age can do anything they set their minds to. The people I am closest to in this organization are women.

Lemon has been sunbathing on the beach in Miami as the storm rages over his behavior, and has not been seen on the set CNN’s morning show since last Thursday, even though he was due back on-air Monday morning.

CNN’s Chairman Chris Licht also slammed Lemon’s comments as ‘upsetting, unacceptable and unfair to his co-hosts, and ultimately a huge distraction to the great work of this organization.’

Nikki Haley is 51 years old. Don Lemon suggested that she was past her prime as a woman

Nikki Haley is 51 years old. Don Lemon suggested that she was past her prime as a woman

Presidential candidate Nikki Haley herself responded to Lemon's comments, saying 'It's always the liberals who are the most sexist' in a tweet with a clip of the video segment.

Regarding the most recent incident, Lemon has since walked back his comments, issuing a formal apology on Twitter after offending thousands of viewers

Staffers were also reportedly not impressed with Lemon’s apology on the editorial call, with some saying it was ‘tone deaf’ and that it sounded like he was giving himself a pat on the back for owning his mistake.

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‘Don has been skating on thin ice for so long and many wanted him fired in December when he freaked out on Kaitlin Collins for no reason,’ a source told DailyMail.com. ‘She was in tears and it was so inappropriate.’

‘Regardless of his political affiliation, his comments that Nikki Haley being past her prime were disgusting. Poppy was fuming, as she should be, and still is.’

‘He is rude, self-righteous and clearly sexist. Nikki did the right thing by calling him out.’

‘His apology meant nothing and there is so much pressure for him to be canned. It would be a shock if he wasn’t.’

Haley herself responded to Lemon’s comments, saying ‘It’s always the liberals who are the most sexist’ in a tweet with a clip of the video segment.

Harlow reportedly stormed off the set after Lemon’s comments last week and just weeks ago he allegedly threw a screaming fit after a broadcast because he was angry Collins had interrupted him on-air. 

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