Rumors began that Lemon may be the latest in a series of firings and changes at the network following his comments and the subsequent backlash. It was announced on Tuesday that the embattled broadcaster would return to work on Wednesday and will receive "formal training," according to an email to staff from network CEO Chris Lichy.
"I sat down with Don and had a frank and meaningful conversation," Licht wrote in the letter obtained by The Associated Press. "He has agreed to participate in formal training, as well as continuing to listen and learn. We take this situation very seriously."
This news did not sit right with some at the company, however, as the Daily Mail reports that several women have threatened to leave if Lemon returns to his position.
"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."
Another insider told the paper, "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."
A CNN spokesperson told the Mail that it "is patently false to say Don is being pushed to resign." Those on the inside, however, say that the network has been "literally, flooded like a tidal wave with extremely angry and offended loyal viewers."
"There is not one person at CNN who 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."
Lemon, 56, has made several apologies since he made the comments, including on an editorial call where he said, "I'm sorry, I don't mean to hurt anyone. I did not mean to offend anyone. 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."
The controversy is the latest in a series of misfortunes for Lemon. The former prime-time anchor was squeezed out of his primetime spot in September of last year. Ratings for the network hit a 9-year low in January of 2023, and Lemon also reportedly recently screamed at his co-host Kaitlan Collins.
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