CNN’s Don Lemon nearly broke down in tears on his TV show, Don Lemon Tonight, on Friday, Feb. 4, over the network’s former president Jeff Zucker’s resignation.
The news anchor took a moment to talk about the media executive’s departure that evening at 10:00 pm and was very passionate about the topic.
“It’s been a really tough day today, and tough few days for us here at CNN,” he said. “I didn’t wanna talk about it until tonight. So the truth is that we’re all heartbroken because we lost our leader here. We lost the man who was the backbone, the glue, and the spirit of this company. The man who I, personally, credit with changing my life and who believed in me when nobody else did. He is the reason you have a gay Black man with two hours of primetime.”
He continued saying he was the only anchor of color on primetime cable news, and he has been with the network for over a decade.
“You wanna talk about diversity? Here it is… I’ve been at this network for almost 16 years.”
Lemon added that Zucker, who he respected and admired, revived CNN.
“He made it relevant again. He steadied it for the last decade. He left us with a very good blueprint going forward. So, for all of you at home watching, you should know that I, and my colleagues, are will continue to do exactly what he would want us to do…deliver the news, no matter what it is, without fear or favor.”
He concluded his statement by thanking him for everything he had done for the network. Then, with a shaky voice and eyes welling up with tears, he re-introduced himself and said, “This is CNN.”
According to the cable TV news network, Zucker announced, on Feb. 2, that he would be resigning from his position over a consensual relationship with his colleague, Allison Gollust. Gollust has been his longtime lieutenant and CNN’s executive vice president and chief marketing officer since 2013.
The 56-year-old’s announcement came less than two months after he fired anchor Chris Cuomo for allegedly ill-advising his brother, former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, on how to address sexual harassment allegations.
Lemon, who is no stranger to controversy, recently had another awkward moment on television. On an episode of CNN’s New Year’s Eve Live, which was broadcasted in New Orleans, he gave a drunken rant dedicated to his haters.
“I don’t give a — what you think about me, what do you think about that,” he said. “I am who I am. I’m a grown, successful black man who a lot of people hate because they’re not used to people seeing me…in the position that I am. To be able to share…my point of view on television– it freaks people out. And you know what? You can kiss my behind. I do not care.”