CNN host Don Lemon is facing backlash across social media after making sexist remarks while discussing Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley.
While speaking alongside two female co-hosts, Lemon discussed why he believed Haley was no longer “in her prime” in response to calls from the presidential candidate for competency tests for elderly politicians such as President Joe Biden.
“Nikki Haley isn’t in her prime,” Lemon said. “Sorry, when a woman is considered to be in her prime in her 20s, and 30s, and maybe 40s…”
Lemon was quickly interrupted by CNN host Poppy Harlow, who questioned what exactly he was attempting to say.
Lemon went on to defend his statement by suggesting that he read it on Google while urging others to “look it up.”
“Don’t shoot the messenger!” Lemon said in response to criticism. “I’m just saying what the facts are! Google it!”
The short clip quickly went viral online, where users expressed their disgust with Lemon’s remarks.
CNN political commentator Patti Solis Doyle, for example, expressed dismay at her colleague in comments on Twitter.
“Don Lemon is full of crap here,” she wrote.
Briahna Joy Gray, the former national press secretary for Bernie Sanders’ 2020 presidential campaign, argued that Lemon’s comments were “unhinged.”
Haley herself eventually responded to the remarks, accusing liberals of being the most sexist group in politics.
“Liberals can’t stand the idea of having competency tests for older politicians to make sure they can do the job,” she wrote. “BTW it’s always the liberals who are the most sexist.”
Popular conservative figures also weighed in on the matter and suggested that Lemon’s views only served to help Haley.
“This just helps Haley,” former NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch said. “Also, if I wanted judgment on a woman’s prime the last human on earth I’d ask is Don Lemon.”
Others accused CNN of hypocrisy by claiming that a conservative anchor would have faced immediate repercussions for such remarks.
Hours after his gaffe, Lemon responded on Twitter, calling his remarks “inartful and irrelevant.”
“A woman’s age doesn’t define her either personally or professionally,” he wrote.
It remains unclear what action if any CNN will take, but Lemon was not on the show the following day.
This post has been updated.