When you think of on-air personalities, a few names automatically come to mind such as Oprah Winfrey, Wendy Williams — and Don Lemon.
And while their impact on media is varied, the common denominator is their tenure in the roles with their respective media outlets. Winfrey retired after decades of hosting her show, and personal health challenges initiated Williams’ departure from her talk show.
Then there’s Lemon, who has parted ways with CNN after 17 years at the network.
He is a Baton Rouge, LA, native and began his career while studying at Brooklyn College, working as a news assistant for WNYW in New York City.
According to PBS, Lemon would go on to work for several other local news stations in the New York Area; Philadelphia, PA; and Birmingham, AL.
He got his big break in September 2006 when he joined CNN. During his time at the global news station, the 57-year-old hosted major news coverage events, including the 2008 Presidential election, the death of Michael Jackson in 2009, and the 2016 Pulse Nightclub shooting.
Lemon’s media work earned him several awards, including being named one of the Ebony Power 150 and receiving several Emmy awards for reporting on the AIDS epidemic and Hurricane Katrina.
Outside of his work in front of the camera, Lemon has been out front for LGBTQ+ issues. Notably, in 2021, he and his partner, Tim Malone, were present when President Joe Biden signed the Respect for Marriage Act.
View this post on Instagram
“It will affect us. We are happy to be here to witness this moment. When we got the invitation from the White House, I said immediately, absolutely, we want to come and experience this,” Lemon said, as noted by The Hill.
The journalist’s work in and out of the studio impacted the culture and was witnessed nightly during his show.
Now, Lemon’s time with CNN, which he announced on Twitter, has come to a seemingly abrupt end.
“I was informed this morning by my agent that I have been terminated by CNN,” he wrote. “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. It is clear that there are some larger issues at work.”
According to The Washington Post, Lemon did not explicitly state the more significant issues with CNN, but he has been criticized for his comments about women, namely Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley.
While it is unclear what Lemon’s next career move will be, he is the author of three books, a noted public speaker, and a human rights advocate.
So far, during his career, Don Lemon has built an estimated net worth of $12 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth.