CNN Host Don Lemon Accused Of SCREAMING At Female Co-Host — Possible ‘ABUSE’
Tensions have been running high at CNN since December, due to an alleged off-camera incident that involved CNN This Morning host, Don Lemon, “screaming” at co-host, Kaitlan Collins.
Two sources told the New York Post that Lemon, 56, approached his 30-year-old co-host after the December 8 show, ripping into Collins in front of employees for supposedly “interrupting” him on live TV.
“Don screamed at Kaitlan, who was visibly upset and ran out of the studio,” one in-the-know source told the outlet.
CNN CEO Chris Licht reportedly caught wind of the skirmish and was appalled by the anchor’s behavior, according to a tipster. Another source alleged that a producer told Lemon to take the next day off to “cool off.”
The three hosts were scheduled to have drinks together before making a group entrance at the White House Christmas party, the following night. An insider dished that the trio never got together before the bash and arrived at the event separately. Lemon reportedly had dinner with his agent, Jay Sures, after the DC bash. Sures also represents Collins, who most recently worked as CNN’s youngest chief White House correspondent. Sources reported that Collins met with the show’s other co-anchor, Poppy Harlow, while the high-powered agent dined with Lemon.
“At this point, Kaitlan wants to be on set with Don as little as possible,” a source revealed. “It’s messy.”
A CNN rep declined to comment on the interaction in question, but told the Post— “In just three months, these anchors have created a compelling morning show that breaks news and drives the conversation.”
The three co-hosts shared a previous awkward exchange when Lemon argued that the US men’s soccer team should be paid more than the women’s team, despite their relatively weak performance in the race to the World Cup. Lemon noted that the men were “more interesting to watch,” via a quote published by the Daily Beast. He later backtracked and called the comment a joke.
Executive producer of “CNN This Morning,” Eric Hall, was reportedly booted from leadership and moved to the 11 p.m. hour of “CNN Tonight.” Former CBS producer, Chris Russell, was recruited to take over for Hall.
Collins and Lemon have been largely separated in the weeks since the alleged incident. Collins has been working remotely from DC and Lemon recently covered the death of Tyre Nichols from Memphis.
“The intent was always for the anchors to get out from behind the news desk, and they are doing an extraordinary job taking viewers inside the most important news stories of the day,” a CNN rep said.
A second source said — “Don has been given notes” by the show’s producers “to not talk so much, to let other people talk.”
“Don’s a bossy guy and difficult to work with — even he would admit that. He was a solo act before. He doesn’t want to be in Destiny’s Child,” the source added, referring to the former girl group led by Beyonce Knowles.
Others claim that Lemon is “not happy” about having to share the spotlight with Harlow and Collins.
“Don has an intractable ego,” a source close to both Licht and Lemon explained. “My understanding is he wants the show to be about him. I don’t know how you fix that. It’s a very difficult situation.”
Another source, experienced in working with high-profile TV personalities, noted that acclimating to a three-person dynamic can be difficult.
“It’s never smooth sailing in the beginning,” the insider pointed out. “They are all trying to get their sea legs.”
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Olivia Davis is a Staff Writer at All About The Tea. Olivia’s hobbies include binging Netflix series, and watching Housewives on Bravo. She graduated from San Francisco State University with a degree in History.