CNN’s Don Lemon may be in serious trouble.
Last Saturday, CNN fired Chris Cuomo for having a conflict of interest when reporting on the sexual misconduct allegations that his older brother, former New York governor Andrew Cuomo, was facing. Cuomo has since stepped down from his SiriusXM radio show while he is facing multiple sexual misconduct allegations of his own.
Now it appears that Don Lemon may have a serious conflict of interest of his own, but not in regards to Andrew Cuomo. Lemon has been reporting on the Jussie Smollett trial that is currently underway. Although attorneys tried to declare a mistrial after two female attorneys accused Judge James Linn of “lunging” and “snarling” at them, the trial has continued.
Yesterday, Smollett testified in his own defense, and several witnesses stepped forward to say that they felt “pressure and threatened” by the prosecution. While Lemon was reporting on this piece of news, he did not mention that he might have interfered with the police investigation.
How Was Don Lemon Involved In Jussie Smollett’s Case?
In 2019, Lemon admitted to Entertainment Tonight that he texted Jussie Smollett “every day” after Smollett announced that he was the victim of a hate crime. He also told CNN viewers that Smollett’s case was “personal” to him because he was friends with the “Empire” actor.
When it came to light that Smollett might have staged the attack, Fox News noted that Lemon considered himself to be a victim, saying Smollett “lied to a lot of people…including me.”
When police started investigating the alleged hate crime, Lemon sent Smollett a text message letting him know that he was being investigated by police. Smollett admitted as much during his testimony on Monday afternoon, saying that Lemon’s text message was the key factor in his decision not to let the police see his phone records.
However, during Lemon’s press coverage of Smollett’s trial, he made no mention of his personal involvement in Smollett’s investigation.
Conflict Of Interests Might Hurt CNN’s Reputation
More activism by an “anchor” at CNN. The network needs to now address this publicly as well. These texts from Lemon to Smollett came during an active high-profile investigation. CNN mum thus far. https://t.co/2sWSMeM5bD
— Joe Concha (@JoeConchaTV) December 7, 2021
Many fans took to Twitter in order to compare Don Lemon aiding Jussie Smollett to Chris Cuomo aiding his brother.
“Really, @donlemon?” one fan asked. “Did you do for @JussieSmollett what @ChrisCuomo did for his sexual assaulting brother @andrewcuomo?”
“Yes, he did,” another commented on the tweet. “@donlemon used his @CNN status and resources to help a man who faked an attack.”
Political columnist Joe Concha also posted a scathing tweet, saying, “More activism by an ‘anchor’ at CNN. The networks need to now address this publicly as well. These texts from Lemon to Smollett came during an active high-profile investigation. CNN mum thus far.”
He later responded to a tweet from Chicago Tribune criminal courts reporter Megan Crepeau, who tweeted, “He [Smollett] also says he declined to give his phone to CPD [Chicago Police Department] in part because earlier he’d gotten a text from Don Lemon ‘saying he’d gotten a text from CPD saying they don’t believe me.’”
Concha responded by saying, “So to unpack this, Smollett (albeit, not credible) claims Lemon tipped him off on what the Chicago Police Department told the CNN anchor about them not believing the actor’s story, so he held evidence in the case.”
CNN has yet to comment on the recent controversy.