Don Lemon is a troll.
Much like the mouth-pursing bite of lemons, Don Lemon is that harsh flavor that stings your senses and burns your eyes when you see him onscreen. Seriously, how is this man still employed? Or, better yet, how is he still a thing?
Lemon is a CNN news anchor, so I think it’s safe to assume he’s still working there because he fits the CNN mold perfectly–minimal news and just a bunch of conversations. It’s basically Lemon’s best impression of Ron Burgundy in Anchorman.
In fact, it was GQ’s Taffy Brodesser-Akner who did a profile on the hated news anchor and the title, Anchorman: The Legend of Don Lemon compared him to the fictional news guy who made us laugh for the length of two movies.
Lemon makes us laugh almost everyday, but it’s the kind of giggle that’s more nervous about his choices as an anchor than it is about his comedic talents.
Akner prefaced her interview with:
“So maybe he’s not Walter Cronkite. Maybe he’s done some famously awkward interviews, gotten his facts wrong, and made CNN the butt of more than a few jokes. But that won’t stop Don Lemon. Because here’s the thing: He can fill hours of nothing with a crisp, news-like something. No matter what he says, no matter how badly he screws up, he never blinks. That’s his gift: He just keeps on going.”
He fills the dead air with “news-like something.” Well that sounds promising. Not! This is literally the reason that most of us have had it up to here with Lemon. He simply says the things that pop up into his head, but that’s just not ok when it comes to news. I admit that I’m guilty of this same approach to conversation, but the difference between me and Lemon is that I’m in an office with a group of women who are debating topics with me.
Oh, and I’m not on live television. So there’s that, too.
There’s a responsibility that Don Lemon has as a news anchor that he seemingly shrugs his shoulders at.
In interviews, for example, he often appears to be completely devoid of compassion. When speaking to an alleged victim of Bill Cosby , Joan Tarshis, he asked if she considered using her teeth to avoid rape. The logic behind that outlandish suggestion? His own admission that he had gone through molestation as a child and had stopped it by telling his abuser that the next time it happened, he would bite his dick off.
We’re sorry for his struggle, but his approach was beyond insensitive. His tactic may have worked for other victims, but on national television, it was neither the time nor the place to insert himself into the story in such an aggressive manner.
Or there’s the moment he asked an Islamic scholar if he supported ISIS. Or the moment he famously led Talib Kweli to such a level of frustration that he walked out of his interview.
Chalk those up to Lemon doing what he does best…filling hours of nothing with “crisp, news-like something.”
But it’s not just the people he interviews who he insults. Lemon also has a long history of pissing off America.
It all started in the height of the outrage surrounding Trayvon Martin’s murder at the hands of overzealous neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman. Lemon boldly agreed with Fox News host Bill O’Reilly ,the master of putting Black people down, even claiming that O’Reilly didn’t go far enough.
Lemon then infamously offered Black people ridiculous tips on how to be better. One of those tips included pulling our pants up.
This is when we all collectively proceeded to find the door where we could be waiting on Don Lemon. This Black man was on CNN, telling Black mothers, “Just because you can have a baby doesn’t mean you should.”
Lemon was THEN surprised at the backlash and said the people didn’t expect him to have an opinion. That’s not it. People are actually upset because he uses his opinion to create problematic pockets in his broadcasts, which he fills with the trolliest comments we’ve ever heard. We think it’s refreshing that Lemon has a point of view, but to take his own people to task on national television–that’s a whole new type of disrespect that makes it rather easy to write him off as Uncle Tom’s intensive, but bright-eyed little brother, Don.
But, apparently, Lemon doesn’t give a f*ck that most of us cringe during his CNN show. And perhaps that deserves at least an inkling of respect. As Ackner writes:
“Lemon has spent a lifetime so far out of sync with people’s expectations of him that he seems unconcerned with them, sometimes even oblivious to them: of how a black man should act, how a gay man should act, how a survivor of sex abuse should act. All this—high school, the black box—made him into the man he is today. Someone who has learned that there are no guidebooks for a man as ambitious as he is, and who has no fucks left to give about what anyone thinks of him.”
Akner is urging us to see Lemon as a flawed human being who deserves our respect, if not our love. But that’s difficult to do given the way he continually shows us that he loves the way his foot tastes.
In perhaps the most telling anecdote from the interview, Ackner recalls the moment when Lemon attempts to correct her pronunciation of “sorbet” as “sorbett.” When the waitress informs him that he is wrong, he barely even acknowledges the gaffe.
“Lemon is not embarrassed. ‘Oh,’ he says, and then nods, because you learn something new every day, and he doesn’t look at me to say how embarrassed he is, he doesn’t look with a gulp at the tape recorder, he doesn’t attempt a joke to clean it all up. He just says, ‘That’s what I’ll have, then.’ And we move on. That he can say it, recover from it, and move on without needing to know what I think of it—this is sort of everything you need to know about Don Lemon: Don Lemon is human, and Don Lemon is not perfect, and Don Lemon is so much more fine with his humanity and his imperfection than anyone I’ve ever met.”
Imperfection, sure. But humanity? Nah, bruh. There’s no humanity in condescendingly correcting someone when you’re actually wrong. There’s also no humanity in telling Black people to do better while avoiding the mirror that’s begging for his attention. It’s time he does better.
Akner says we “deserve” an anchor like Lemon, but I say, speak for yourself.