Lemon at the 2018 Pulitzer Prizes
March 1, 1966|
Baton Rouge, Louisiana, U.S.
|Residence||New York City, New York, U.S.|
|Education||Baker High School|
|Alma mater||Louisiana State University|
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.
In his earliest 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.
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.
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.
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.
Honors and awards
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.
In 2014, however, Lemon's work was named in a list of worst journalism of the year by the Columbia Journalism Review, for his questions about Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, spanking children, and US Army POW Bowe Bergdahl. He suggested to an alleged Bill Cosby rape victim that she could have resisted oral sex by biting him, despite claiming in his book to be a victim of sexual abuse himself.
In 2018 Lemon also 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". West has had a battle with addiction and mental health issues.
- Broadcast journalism
- LGBT culture in New York City
- List of United States over-the-air television networks
- New Yorkers in journalism
- United States cable news
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- "CNN host Don Lemon's sister tragically died in a Louisiana fishing accident". February 2, 2018.
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- "CNN NEWSROOM transcript: Rep. Earl Pomeroy Discusses Saberi Conviction in Iran; Justice Department Releases New Details on Bush Administration Terror Policy; "Ebony" Magazine's Power 150; Maryland Tragedy". CNN.com. April 18, 2009.
- "CNN's Don Lemon Named to 'Worst Journalism of 2014' List". The Hollywood Reporter. December 26, 2014.
- Uberti, David (December 22, 2014). "The worst journalism of 2014". Columbia Journalism Review.
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