As beleaguered CNN launches a massive round of layoffs, newly anointed morning show host Don Lemon has sparked even more controversy after “mansplaining” his female co-hosts why men’s sports bring in more money.
The heated debate on Thursday morning, in which CNN This Morning co-hosts Poppy Harlow and Kaitlan Collins struggled to get a word in, came after it was revealed that the US women’s national soccer team will earn more from the men’s World Cup than they do did. of their 2019 World Cup Championship.
Lemon, who was responsible for a spate of controversial on-air statements, tried to explain to his colleagues that the U.S. women’s soccer team historically earned less than their male counterparts simply because there’s limited interest in their sport.
“You can’t interest people in something they’re not interested in,” he said.
After being quickly bucked by co-host Poppy Harlow, he was quick to voice his opinion with the blanket statement, “I’m not sexist.”
“I grew up as the only boy in a family of all women,” he added, before telling that when he goes to sports bars and women’s games are played, an almost universal response from the audience tends to be, “I know don’t want to see this.’
CNN This Morning co-host Don Lemon gets defensive about his position that no one really wants to watch women’s soccer
Lemon was recently moved from his nighttime spot to a revamped morning show starring Poppy Harlow and Kaitlan Collins by the network’s new leadership
Harlow and Collins argued that women’s sports are undervalued by the entities controlling advertising dollars because potential fans are not exposed to them enough to increase their marketing value.
Collins pointed out that in some cases, including on the world soccer stage, the U.S. women’s team has a more impressive recent record than the men.
“The women have better skills,” she said, as Lemon argued that women are generally worse at athletics and that if the women’s team played against the men’s team, they would lose.
“I’m just being honest,” he said at the end of the awkward part.
Chris Licht took over as chairman and CEO of the network in May. He is best known as the showrunner and executive producer of The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, as well as CBS’ executive vice president of special programming.
The layoffs were announced in an email from Licht on Wednesday
The drama came after CNN’s top boss, Chris Licht, informed employees that the layoffs would begin Wednesday and continue Thursday, lamenting that “it’s going to be a tough time for everyone.”
Paid contributors at the cable network were notified of their termination as early as Wednesday, while full-time employees will be told in person and on Zoom Thursday whether they still lost their jobs, according to an internal memo.
The layoffs are part of a cost-cutting plan being implemented by Warner Bros. Discovery, the parent company of the cable giant.
Warner Bros. Discovery is currently trying to integrate legacy Warner Media companies, such as CNN, and the already established Discovery companies.
As of Thursday morning, the business casualties include HLN, a cable news station owned by CNN, which will be stripped for parts and combined with CNN’s live programming.
When Licht took office as chairman and CEO of the network in May 2022, he said he did not expect any layoffs. But that changed in October when he told employees that some cost-cutting measures would be taken, which translated into a number of staff changes and layoffs.
According to one source, the cuts would affect workers in New York and Atlanta the most. Variety reported.
In August, Brian Stelter, chief media correspondent and host of the weekly media news show Reliable Sources, was fired from the cable network
Another victim of the network was veteran White House correspondent John Harwood – a highly critical voice of President Trump
CNN’s legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin was shown the door early on in the Licht acquisition
Chris Cuomo was fired from CNN in December 2021. His alleged involvement in advising his brother, disgraced New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, during his sexual harassment scandal became too much of a liability for the network.
In October, Licht warned that CNN would face changes, citing “widespread concern about the global economic outlook.” The changes would affect “people, budgets and projects,” Licht said.
The new boss ushered in a number of high-profile talents positioned under former network president Jeff Zucker who are known to be critical of former President Trump.
His inaugural round of layoffs was interpreted by many as a signal that he wanted to “awaken” the brand and make CNN programming attractive to US centrists.
That belief was reinforced in August when Brian Stelter, chief media correspondent and host of the weekly media news show, Reliable Sources, was dismissed when Licht publicly indicated he would retire from opinion broadcasting.
Two other network victims were left-wing veteran White House correspondent John Harwood and legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin.
In December 2021, popular presenter Chris Cuomo was fired for a number of serious ethical violations. While his show was the most-watched show on the cable network at the time of its termination, his alleged involvement in advising his brother, disgraced New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, during his sexual harassment scandal became too much of a stretch. responsibility for the network.
Notably, when Licht took over, the highly promoted paid streaming service CNN+ shut down just a month after launch, leaving many at the network concerned about the company’s future.