On Thursday, Don Lemon’s offensive and disrespectful remarks concerning Nikki Haley had his co-anchors turning their stomachs in dismay. The Post has acquired knowledge that this outburst of sexism will add to the already mounting pressure for CNN manager Chris Licht to fire the acrimonious host.
An enraged Poppy Harlow abruptly departed the “CNN This Morning” set after an intense confrontation with Lemon, whose comment regarding GOP presidential candidate being “not in her prime” sparked a heated argument between them, as reported by reliable sources.
Sources reported that Harlow seized a fortuitous bathroom break, which was then followed by colleague Kaitlan Collins – who recently had her own controversy with Lemon.
The source further divulged that the contentious relationship between Lemon, Collins and Harlow has been intensifying over the past few months.
A source from CNN relayed that the recent incident could be a catalyst for Licht’s takeover of Lemon in the morning show.
“Chris isn’t happy and he has spoken to Don a couple times today,” the source said. “Don knows it can’t happen again.”
On Thursday, an informal gathering titled “Coffee with Chris” took place where 30 employees posed inquiries to Licht regarding the network’s current struggles with ratings.
A source with intimate knowledge revealed that someone had inquired about Lemon’s thoughts on the 51-year-old Haley.
“People say stupid things and that if it’s a trend, then there’s recourse,” the source said.
CNN and Lemon have yet to issue a response when contacted for comment.
Harlow remained silent, though a source close to the seasoned anchor jested: “As a woman in her prime, Poppy Harlow does use the bathroom, including on Thursday mornings.”
Collins was unavailable for comment when contacted.
On Thursday, Harlow returned to the program but appeared shocked after Lemon’s perplexing monologue about Haley advocating for mental acuity tests for those in office over 75.
“This whole talk about age makes me uncomfortable,” Lemon said. “I think it’s the wrong road to go down. She says people, you know, politicians are suddenly not in their prime. Nikki Haley isn’t in her prime.”
To Harlow and Collins’ surprise, Lemon then said: “A woman is considered to be in their prime in [their] the 20s and 30s and maybe 40s.”
Harlow wasted no time in calling out the floundering primetime host: “What are you talking about, wait … Prime for what?”
In a desperate attempt to salvage the situation, Lemon quickly tried to disclaim that he wasn’t expressing his own opinions.
“That’s not according to me,” he stated. “It’s like, prime. If you look it up. If you Google when is a woman in her prime, it’ll say 20s, 30s, and 40s.”
He added: “I’m just saying Nikki Haley should be careful about saying that politicians are not in their prime and they need to be in their prime when they serve. Because she wouldn’t be in her prime according to, you know, Google.”
In the face of widespread internal and social media criticism, Lemon was forced to issue a public apology.
“The reference I made to a woman’s ‘prime’ this morning was inartful and irrelevant, as colleagues and loved ones have pointed out, and I regret it,” Lemon wrote on Twitter. “A woman’s age doesn’t define her either personally or professionally. I have countless women in my life who prove that every day.”
“This ongoing situation is frustrating,” a source said. “His comments were misogynistic and sexist.”
In December, Collins had the misfortune of receiving Lemon’s wrath after he interrupted her on air. Consequently, they haven’t been seen together since that fateful incident – until Thursday when 30-year-old Collins returned to the set.
A CNN producer requested Lemon to take the following day off, according to a source who spoke with The Post at that point in time, after he harshly reprimanded Collins.