Don Lemon issued a fresh apology for his controversial comments about 2024 hopeful Nikki Haley just before he returned to air on CNN This Morning.
“I appreciate the opportunity to be back on CNN This Morning today,” the host wrote on Twitter early Wednesday.
“To my network, my colleagues and our incredible audience — I’m sorry. I’ve heard you, I’m learning from you, and I’m committed to doing better. See you soon.”
About half an hour later, Mr Lemon was back in the anchor chair alongside co-host Poppy Harlow.
He did not address the controversy around his remarks about Ms Haley on air.
The anchor had been a no-show on his programme since last Thursday’s episode of CNN This Morning, when he claimed that Ms Haley, who announced her presidential campaign last week, should not be critical of politicians’ ages because of her own age.
“This whole talk about age makes me uncomfortable. I think it’s the wrong road to go down. She says people, you know, politicians or something are not in their prime,” Mr Lemon said. “Nikki Haley isn’t in her prime, sorry. A woman is considered to be in their prime in 20s and 30s and maybe 40s.”
I appreciate the opportunity to be back on @CNNThisMorning today. To my network, my colleagues and our incredible audience — I’m sorry. I’ve heard you, I’m learning from you, and I’m committed to doing better.
See you soon.
— Don Lemon (@donlemon) February 22, 2023
After pushback from his co-host Ms Harlow and later viewers, the news anchor said in a statement that he regretted his “inartful and irrelevant” comments, which many deemed “sexist” and “misogynistic”.
“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,” he 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.”
In a statement to employees on Monday night, CNN CEO Chris Licht said that Ms Lemon would return to the morning show on Wednesday after he receives “formal training,” according to CNN Business.
The announcement divided viewers, with some suggesting the anchor should not need training to know his comments were inappropriate.