Don Lemon and Elon Musk Aren’t Friends Anymore

Don Lemon's solo act post-CNN firing is already done—and it only took one sit-down with Elon Musk.

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Don Lemon and Elon Musk Aren’t Friends Anymore

Remember in January when a certain former CNN anchor and accused workplace misogynist announced a new show on X, aka the one platform where the bad takes of accused workplace misogynists just make sense? Well, two months—and one interview with Elon Musk later—and it’s all over. That’s right, Don Lemon‘s solo act post-CNN firing, The Don Lemon Show, is donezo before it even premiered.

On Wednesday, Lemon confirmed that the man behind what he once referred to as “the biggest space for free speech in the world” was, in fact, a hypocrite: “Elon publicly encouraged me to join X with a new show, saying I would have his ‘full support,’” Lemon said in a lengthy statement posted…on X. Later in Lemon’s explanation, it’s made clear that that support hit its limit just after his interview—the premiere episode of the series—with Musk was previewed…on CNN.

In an interview with CNN’s Erin Burnett on Wednesday, Lemon—who clearly still enjoys a friendly relationship with the outlet—shared a few video excerpts from his 90-minute sit-down with Musk. Among the topics of conversation were unregulated hate speech on X, a recent meeting Musk had with Donald Trump, and his use of ketamine. Light!

“I don’t have to answer questions from reporters, Don,” Musk told Lemon during the conversation. “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.”

The sit-down isn’t yet public (it’ll premiere on March 18), but according to CNN, a person familiar with the situation said Musk was livid when Lemon asked about his ketamine use, his government security clearance, and antisemitism. Hence, the abrupt dissolution of his working relationship with Lemon.

“Throughout our conversation I kept reiterating to him, although it was tense at times, I thought it was good for people to see our exchange,” Lemon said in an Instagram video on Wednesday. “But apparently free speech absolutism doesn’t apply when it comes to questions about him from people like me.”

 

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A post shared by Don Lemon (@donlemonofficial)

In a statement, X (kind of) explained its parting with Lemon: “The Don Lemon Show is welcome to publish its content on X, without censorship, as we believe in providing a platform for creators to scale their work and connect with new communities,” the company said. “However, like any enterprise, we reserve the right to make decisions about our business partnerships, and after careful consideration, X decided not to enter into a commercial partnership with the show.”

And because he’s Musk, he just had to weigh in, too. When asked by an X user what happened with Lemon’s show, he responded: “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. “And, instead of it being the real Don Lemon, it was really just [former CNN chief] Jeff Zucker talking through Don, so lacked authenticity.”

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Lemon told CNN that he still expects Musk to pay up for the soured platform deal: “Don has a deal with X and expects to be paid for it,” the spokesperson asserted. “If we have to go to court we will.”

Goody!


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