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||Brooklyn College Louisiana State University|
Lemon was born on born March 1, 1966, 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.
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.
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.
On April 6, 2019, Lemon announced on social media his boyfriend of two years, Tim Malone, had proposed, which Lemon accepted.
In August 2019, a New York bartender filed a civil lawsuit alleging Lemon assaulted him in a bar in July of 2018. The plaintiff sued Lemon for a "demeaning, unprovoked and offensive assault" in a tavern in Sag Harbor, New York and seeks unspecified damages for "emotional pain and suffering." A CNN spokesperson told USA Today that, "Don categorically denies these claims."
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, 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.
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- Schmidt, Samantha (January 12, 2018). "'This is CNN Tonight. I'm Don Lemon. The president of the United States is racist.'". The Washington Post. Retrieved September 6, 2018.
- Lemon, Don (September 25, 2010). "CNN Reporter Don Lemon Says That He Was Attacked By A Pedophile!". YouTube. Retrieved May 13, 2014.
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- "familyhistoryinsider.com". Archived from the original on June 3, 2015.[unreliable source?]
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- "Don Lemon Returns to CNN After His Sister's Death: Your Prayers Have 'Meant the World to Me'". www.mediaite.com.
- Halberg, Morgan (January 19, 2018). "Don Lemon Offloads Spare Harlem Abode". Observer. New York City. Retrieved November 8, 2018.
- Richards, Kimberly (April 6, 2019). "Don Lemon Announces His Engagement To Tim Malone". HuffPost. Retrieved April 7, 2019.
- Henderson, Cydney (August 14, 2019). "Don Lemon sued for allegedly assaulting New York bartender,". USA Today. Archived from the original on August 14, 2019. Retrieved August 14, 2019.
- "Anchors & Reporters – Don Lemon". CNN. 2012. Retrieved February 11, 2012.
- Watts, Laurence (September 15, 2011). "Interview: Don Lemon, CNN's openly gay anchorman". Pink News. Retrieved February 11, 2012.
- "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.