Two newsmen from competing organizations departed their long-standing gigs Monday (April 24), as Don Lemon was “terminated” from CNN the same day Fox News announced pundit Tucker Carlson wouldn’t be returning to the network.
The news sent shockwaves through the industry, with director Lee Daniels taking to Instagram to share his take and encourage the two men with opposing views to join forces.
After dismissing Carlson’s departure and calling Lemon’s “gut-wrenching,” the producer offered, “Don Lemon, Tucker Carlson, if I were a smart executive, I put them both on the same TV show.”
“How bananas would the ratings be? And I think it could possibly unite the country,” he further suggested.
Lemon announced his departure from CNN Monday morning via Twitter, claiming that his agent gave him the news.
“I was informed this morning by my agent that I have been terminated by CNN,” began the 57-year-old. “I am stunned. After 17 years at CNN I would have thought 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.”
He went on, “It is clear there are some larger issues at play. With that said, I want to thank my colleagues and the many teams I have worked with for an incredible run. They are the most talented journalists in the business, and I wish them all the best.”
A tweet shared by the CNN Communications team, however, challenges Lemon’s claim.
“Don Lemon’s statement about this morning’s events is inaccurate. He was offered an opportunity to meet with management but instead released a statement on Twitter,” wrote the account.
Hours later, it was announced that Carlson, 53, was ousted from Fox less than a week after the network settled a defamation lawsuit by Dominion Voting Systems for more than $787 million, NPR reports.
“FOX News Media and Tucker Carlson have agreed to part ways,” the network said in a statement released by a spokesperson. “We thank him for his service to the network as a host and prior to that as a contributor.”