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CNN Pays Don Lemon $24.5 Million Settlement… And We Just Confirmed His Former Annual Salary

Almost a year ago, Don Lemon was fired from his position as one of CNN’s top anchors for comments he made about presidential contender Nikki Haley being no longer “in her prime.” The remark was perceived as sexist by many, causing Lemon to be unceremoniously booted from the network. And now it’s being reported that Lemon has reached a settlement with CNN for the remainder of the compensation that was on his contract: $24.5 million.

If the story’s sources are correct, Lemon is getting the same amount he would have earned had he stayed on CNN for the three and a half years he had left on his contract before his firing. If the settlement amount and time frame are accurate, $24.5 million for 3.5 years of work would imply that Don Lemon’s CNN salary was $7 million per year.

A spokesperson for CNN has denied the report: “While we never comment on specifics of any employee contract, this story is incorrect.” And reps on Lemon’s side had no comment on the story.

Cindy Ord/Getty Images

In social media posts after his dismissal, Lemon revealed that he got the news from his agent, and that nobody at CNN told him he was gone personally: “I would have thought that someone in management would have had the decency to tell me directly,” he said.

Later on, in an interview with Kara Swisher, Lemon said CNN had other reasons for wanting him gone than his Haley remarks, saying the network’s new management had a strategy that didn’t involve him:

“They did not want me to be a part of that, and I think that has, from what has played out publicly as it relates to CNN, as it relates to management, and what they’re doing now, I think that it’s obvious that they didn’t want me to be a part of that.”

Lemon is now preparing for his debut on Twitter/X, “The Don Lemon Show,” where he will purportedly be “bigger, bolder, freer” than he was on CNN.

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