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Elon Musk pulls the plug on Don Lemon’s X show after interview

Elon Musk pulls the plug on Don Lemon’s X show after interview
Don Lemon, host of The Don Lemon Show

Elon Musk, the mercurial billionaire-owner of X, has pulled the plug on fired CNN anchor Don Lemon’s new and “unique partnership” with the social media platform.

The Don Lemon Show was unceremoniously canceled just days before it was scheduled to stream following a recorded interview with Musk that the out gay journalist described as a “good conversation” and the X-owner said lacked “authenticity.”

“His approach was basically just ‘CNN, but on social media,’ which doesn’t work, as evidenced by the fact that CNN is dying,” Musk wrote, adding to X corporate’s announcement that the Lemon show was kaput. “And, instead of it being the real Don Lemon, it was really just Jeff Zucker talking through Don, so lacked authenticity.”

Musk referenced Lemon’s onetime boss at CNN, Zucker, who gave the former NBC reporter his own show, Don Lemon Tonight, in 2014. Zucker resigned from CNN after admitting to a consensual affair with a colleague in 2022. An arm of Zucker’s media-focused company produces The Don Lemon Show.

Lemon was fired from CNN in 2023 after he made comments on-air about Nikki Haley that were widely condemned as misogynistic.

The ex-anchor joined fired Fox News host Tucker Carlson and failed presidential candidate and anti-trans activist Tulsi Gabbard two months ago in a stable of so-called talent entering production agreements with Musk’s onetime social media juggernaut. The first installment of Carlson’s X partnership, a fawning interview with Russian president Vladimir Putin from the heart of the Kremlin, was widely panned as a traitorous, America First collaboration with an authoritarian dictator hostile to the United States.

Lemon said he had looked forward to the “full support” the billionaire mogul had promised. Instead, he was canned.

“My questions were respectful and wide-ranging, covering everything from SpaceX to the presidential election,” Lemon wrote in a statement posted to… X.

“We had a good conversation. Clearly he felt differently. His commitment to a global town square where all questions can be asked and all ideas can be shared seems not to include questions of him from people like me.”

Precisely whom “people like me” referred to was left unsaid by the gay Black anchor.

Lemon appeared on CNN’s Erin Burnett Out Front last night and brought along a clip from his interview with Musk. In a clip, Lemon questioned the billionaire about the rise in hate speech on X. “Do you believe that X and you have some responsibility to moderate hate speech on the platform — that you wouldn’t have to answer these questions from reporters about the Great Replacement theory…?”

“I don’t have to answer these questions,” Musk replied. “I don’t have to answer questions from reporters. Don, the only reason I’m doing this interview is because you’re on the X platform and you asked for it. Otherwise, I would not do this interview.”

According to an internal document obtained by The New York Times, the X sales team was tracking ad sales as late as Monday, indicating the break with Lemon was just hours in the making.   

Lemon said the show will go on, now premiering on YouTube on March 18 and featuring that same interview with Musk.

“While Elon goes back on his word, I will be doubling down on my commitment to free speech and I cannot wait to get started.”

“All this said,” Musk added on X after Lemon broke news of the bust-up, “Lemon/Zucker are of course welcome to build their viewership on this platform along with everyone else.”

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