(The Hill) — CNN host Don Lemon, one of the most recognizable personalities across the cable news business, has a history of making offensive remarks to and threatening female staffers who anger him, according to a new report.
Variety published an extensive exposé on Lemon’s conduct relating to women this week, alleging a pattern of abusive and threatening behavior by the former prime-time anchor, who currently hosts CNN’s revamped morning program along with Kaitlin Collins and Poppy Harlow.
The report alleges that, among other incidents, while Lemon was anchoring CNN’s “Live From” program in 2008, he became angry when he was passed over for a reporting assignment for Kyra Phillips, who has since left the network.
Citing unnamed sources at the network at the time, Variety reported Phillips received two threatening text messages from an unknown sender after she was granted the reporting mission that said, “Now you’ve crossed the line, and you’re going to pay for it.”
The texts were eventually traced by network leadership back to Lemon, the outlet reported.
“Don says the alleged incident never occurred and that he was never notified of any investigation,” a spokesperson for the network told Variety. “CNN cannot corroborate the alleged events from 15 years ago.”
Lemon’s comments about women have come under scrutiny in recent weeks after he was widely admonished by critics inside and outside of the network for remarks he made about Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley shortly after she announced a bid for the White House.
“Nikki Haley isn’t in her prime, sorry. A woman is considered to be in their prime in 20s and 30s and maybe 40s,” Lemon said on the air earlier this year, a quip that earned him an internal rebuke from network president Chris Licht and calls from women’s rights groups to have him fired.
“A woman’s age doesn’t define her either personally or professionally,” Lemon wrote on Twitter as part of an apology for the remark about Haley. “I have countless women in my life who prove that every day.”