December 10, 2021
CNN primetime host Don Lemon may be the next high-profile personality the network has to fire after the departure of fellow primetime host Chris Cuomo.
People have been calling for his firing after actor Jussie Smollett, who was convicted on five felony counts for making a false police report on Thursday, testified on Monday that Lemon sent him messages tipping him off to the fact that police did not believe his hate crime attack story, The Daily Wire reported.
In testimony, Smollett partly clarified why he did not initially give over his phone by stating that “he declined to give his phone to CPD in part because earlier he’d gotten a text from Don Lemon ‘saying he’d gotten a text from CPD saying they don’t believe me,’” according to Chicago Tribune Reporter Megan Crepeau.
Crepeau noted that Smollett said he also had a private photo on the device as well as contact information for “my boss, everybody, my mom, my family, my siblings, there are extremely important activists in my phone, extremely important executives and actors and actresses and singers.”
It is unclear what the text message from Don Lemon allegedly said.
In 2019, Lemon said that as a fellow gay black man he texted the actor “every day,” reported USA Today:
“Every day I say, ‘I know you think I’m annoying’ – I can show you a text – ‘I know you think I’m annoying you, but I just want to know that you’re OK, and if you need somebody you can talk to me, ’cause there’s not a lot of us out there,’” he said. “Sometimes he responds; sometimes he doesn’t. He responds and says, ‘You are not annoying.’ “
“I’ve had fear recently… because of the political environment,” the anchor said. “I get death threats… I have security, all of these things that happened. Listen, we’ve always been divided ideologically, but there’s something different going on now.”
Now many have been calling for Lemon to get fired.
“After Jussie Smollett’s testimony that Don Lemon tipped him off to the Chicago PD not believing his story… he should be the next to get tanked from CNN…” Tim Young said.
Smollett had been accused of hiring two Nigerian men to wrap a noose around his neck and pour bleach on his face. The actor then filed a false police report, where he claimed that he was attacked by two Trump supporters in MAGA hats who called him racist and homophobic names.
Smollett was charged with six counts of disorderly conduct after police said he made false reports about being the victim of a hate crime. He faces up to three years in prison.
They asked Judge James Linn for a copy of a calendar prosecutors displayed at trial that indicated relevant dates, including that of the alleged attack and of what two brothers testified was a “dry run” for the Jan. 29, 2019, assault.
In closing arguments earlier Wednesday, a prosecutor told jurors there is “overwhelming evidence” that Smollett staged the attack, then lied to police about it for publicity.