Born: March 1, 1966
Birthplace: Baton Rouge, LA
Zodiac Sign: Pisces
Career and Life
Don Carlton Lemon is an American journalist and author. He is an award winning news anchor for CNN based in New York City, and hosts CNN Tonight.
Lemon was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He was educated at Baker High School, a public high school in the town of Baker in East Baton Rouge Parish. He majored in broadcast journalism at Brooklyn College in Brooklyn, New York, and attended Louisiana State University. While in college, Lemon worked as a news assistant at WNYW in New York City.
Early in his career, Lemon reported as a weekend anchor for WBRC in Birmingham, Alabama, and WCAU in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania as well as an anchor and investigative reporter for KTVI St. Louis.
Lemon reported for NBC News' New York City operations, including working as a correspondent for Today and NBC Nightly News and an anchor on Weekend Today and MSNBC. In 2003, he began at NBC owned-and-operated station WMAQ-TV (5 in Chicago), and was a reporter as well as local news co-anchor.
Lemon joined CNN in September 2006. He has been outspoken in his work at CNN, criticizing the state of cable news and questioning the network publicly.He has also voiced strong opinions on ways that the African-American community can improve themselves, which has caused some controversy. Since 2014, he has hosted CNN's New Year's Eve special from New Orleans.
In a much-reported broadcast in January 2018, Lemon introduced his broadcast with, “This is CNN Tonight, I’m Don Lemon. The President of the United States is racist.”
During an on-air interview with members of Bishop Eddie Long's congregation in September 2010, Lemon said that he was a victim of sexual abuse as a child, and that it was not until he was thirty years old that he told his mother about it.
In his memoir, Transparent, Lemon came out as gay and discusses colorism in the black community, and the sexual abuse he suffered as a child. He has Creole ancestry (his great-grandfather was of French descent) in addition to Nigerian, Cameroonian, and Congolese ancestry.
On January 31, 2018, Lemon's sister, L'Tanya "Leisa" Lemon Grimes, died at the age of 58; police concluded that her death was an accidental drowning in a pond while fishing. After being absent for approximately a week, he opened the show on February 6 by thanking everyone who wished him "prayers and words of encouragement". He said that conservatives, like Sean Hannity, were among the first to call, which illustrated how they actually respect each other and have good relations, even though they disagree on the issues.
Lemon owns an apartment in Harlem and a second home in Sag Harbor, New York, on Long Island.
Lemon won an Emmy Award for a special report on the real estate market in Chicago. He received an Edward R. Murrow Award for his coverage of the capture of the D.C. area sniper, and a number of other awards for reports on Hurricane Katrina, and the AIDS epidemic in Africa.
Lemon was voted as one of the 150 most influential African-Americans by Ebony magazine in 2009.
In 2014, however, Columbia Journalism Review awarded Lemon a more dubious honor when his work was named in a list of worst journalism of the year (along with Fox & Friends and Rolling Stone magazine) for his remarks to an alleged Bill Cosby rape victim.
In 2015, over 30,000 people signed a petition demanding that Lemon be fired from CNN following a controversial remark he made regarding police behavior.
In 2018 Lemon described Kanye West's appearance at the White House with President Donald Trump as "embarrassing" and a "Minstrel Show" whilst allowing his panel members to describe West as a "Token Negro".
In October 2018, Lemon stated on-air: "So, we have to stop demonizing people and realize the biggest terror threat in this country is white men, most of them radicalized to the right. And we have to start doing something about them. There is no travel ban on them. There is no ban on — they had the Muslim ban. There is no white guy ban. So, what do we do about that?"
Lemon, Don (2011). Transparent. Farrah Gray Publishing, Inc. ISBN 978-0982702789.