Former CNN host Don Lemon spoke about his commitment to the “truth” in his first TV interview since being axed – saying he doesn’t believe in “platforming liars and bigots” and putting them on the “same footing as people who are abiding by the Constitution.”
Lemon, 57, who was ousted in April from the ratings-challenged network after 17 years, sat down for an interview with ABC24 Memphis on Saturday.
“I have a responsibility — not only as a journalist but as an American — to tell the truth and to abide by the promises of the Constitution,” he told the outlet. “Because the Constitution says a more perfect union, not a perfect union. I’m not a perfect person. No one is.
“In order to fulfill the promise of the Constitution, we have to stand up for what is right. We have to stand up for the truth,” Lemon continued.
The newsman went on to describe his journalistic philosophy honed over the years.
“I don’t believe in platforming liars and bigots, insurrectionists and election deniers and putting them on the same footing as people who are telling the truth — people who are fighting for what’s right, people who are abiding by the Constitution,” he told ABC24.
“I think that would be a dereliction of journalistic duty to do those sorts of things,” Lemon added. “That is what has gotten me to this point, and that is what is going to carry me forward.
“To know that I am standing up and abiding by the Constitution, which my profession demands that I do because we are listing in the First Amendment of the Constitution, which is freedom of speech, freedom of expression and freedom of the press,” he went on.
When asked about his plans, Lemon said he is in no hurry to pursue a new gig.
“I’m not going to force anything. I’m not going to let other people’s timeline influence me. I know people say, ‘I miss you on television. What is your next move?’ I’m figuring that out,” he said.
“I don’t have to be in a rush I think people rush and they end up making the wrong the decisions. I’m not rushing into anything,” Lemon added.
In April, the veteran CNN journalist announced on Twitter that his agent had notified him about his dismissal.
“I am stunned. After 17 years at CNN I would have thought that someone in management would have had the decency to tell me directly. At no time was I ever given any indication that I would not be able to continue to do the work I have loved at the network,” he wrote.
CNN reportedly let him go after network execs grew “exasperated” over a tense, on-air exchange with Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy.
Lemon, who rose to prominence in broadcasting as one of the few gay African-American television news personalities, in November was stripped of his solo anchoring slot in primetime and placed alongside Kaitlan Collins and Poppy Harlow as part of then-boss Chris Licht’s revamped morning show.
But just weeks into his new gig, Lemon clashed with his two co-hosts over on-air remarks he made about women’s soccer when he suggested the US men’s team should get paid more than the women’s side.
In February, the Baton Rouge native came under fire for his controversial remarks about Republican presidential contender Nikki Haley, 51, of South Carolina.
“Nikki Haley isn’t in her prime, sorry,” Lemon said on the air. “When a woman is considered to be in her prime — in her 20s, 30s and maybe her 40s.”
The Brooklyn College grad was forced to take sensitivity training and later apologized for his comments, calling them “inartful and irrelevant,” and praised the women in his life.
Lemon, who reportedly made $7 million a year at CNN, was expected to walk away with a $25 million payout.
The embattled Licht has resigned after a disastrous profile that appeared in the Atlantic magazine.