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Don Lemon attends 12th Annual CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute at American Museum of Natural History on December 09, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by John Lamparski/WireImage)
*Don Lemon’s firing from CNN is allegedly linked to a tense on-air exchange he had last week with Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy on “CNN This Morning.”
During their heated spat, Lemon claimed Ramaswamy’s controversial comments about the freedoms of Black Americans in the post-Civil War era were insulting.
As TheWrap reports, Lemon took issue with Ramaswamy saying the NRA helped freed slaves after the civil war earn Second Amendment freedoms.
“The NRA did not play a big role in that. That is a lie,” Lemon said. “That’s a lie. The NRA did not play a big role in that.”
“This is just historical fact, but Don,” Ramaswamy said before Lemon cut him off, according to The Wrap.
“That is not historical fact. Just because you say it’s historical fact does not make it historical fact,” Lemon said.
“The part that I find insulting,” Ramaswamy said, “is when you say today Black Americans don’t have those rights after we have gone through civil rights revolution in this country.”
“The fact that I find insulting is that you are sitting here telling an African American about the rights and what you find insulting about the way I live, the skin I live in every day, and I know the freedoms that Black and white — that Black people don’t have in this country and that Black people do have.”
Lemon went on to say… “I’m not saying you shouldn’t express your views. But that you’re sitting here, whatever ethnicity you are, splaining to me what it’s like to be Black in America. I’m sorry”
“Whatever ethnicity I am? I’ll tell you what ethnicity I am, I’m an Indian American,” Ramaswamy said. “I’m proud of it. But I think we should have this debate, Black, white doesn’t matter.”
“I think we should have this debate,” Lemon said. “But I think you should do it in an honest way.”
According to CNN insiders, the conversation “left several CNN leaders exasperated,” per sources reportedly cited in a New York Times report, according to Fox News.
Ramaswamy spoke to Fox News Digital Monday and noted that “It’s clear” his conversation with Lemon “played in role” in CNN’s “sound decision” to fire the longtime news anchor, according to Fox News.
“I think that any network that wants to foster open debate should embrace that principle by not restricting what someone can say or saying what someone can say is restricted based on their skin color. And I think they made the right decision here,” Ramaswamy said.
The network initially tweeted that Lemon and the network “parted ways,” and wrote: “Don will forever be a part of the CNN family, and we thank him for his contributions over the past 17 years. We wish him well and will be cheering him on in his future endeavors.”
After many assumed Lemon’s exit was an amicable decision, he took to Twitter Monday morning to express shock that he was fired by the network.
“I was informed this morning by my agent that I have been terminated by CNN. I am stunned,” Lemon wrote. “After 17 years at CNN I would have though 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 play.”
CNN was quick to respond to Lemon’s statement.
“Don Lemon’s statement about this morning’s events is inaccurate,” CNN Communications tweeted on Monday (April 24). “He was offered an opportunity to meet with management but instead released a statement on Twitter.”