Don Lemon returns to CNN as network reportedly warns 'he's a strike away' from getting fired

Don Lemon
(Image credit: J. Countess/Getty Images)

Don Lemon is back on the air at CNN after his controversial comments about when a woman is in her "prime." But the network has reportedly warned another remark like that will cost him his job.

The anchor returned to CNN This Morning on Wednesday after several days off the air. Last week, he faced backlash after claiming former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) is not in her "prime" because "when a woman is considered to be in her prime [is] in her 20s and 30s and maybe 40." He apologized on Twitter and to his CNN colleagues for his "inartful and irrelevant" remarks.

Lemon offered another apology Wednesday, tweeting that "I appreciate the opportunity to be back" on the air. "To my network, my colleagues and our incredible audience — I'm sorry," he wrote. "I've heard you, I'm learning from you, and I'm committed to doing better. See you soon." Lemon did not address the comment on the air Wednesday. He has been off for several days, though his absence on Friday was reportedly pre-planned.

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Meanwhile, TMZ reports CNN management informed Lemon that "he's a strike away from getting the boot permanently" and that "this was his final warning." TMZ previously reported that when Lemon apologized on an internal CNN call, some felt his remarks were "tone deaf" because he "essentially said some of his best friends are women."

CNN CEO Chris Licht said in a memo Monday that he and Lemon "had a frank and meaningful conversation" and that the anchor "agreed to participate in formal training, as well as continuing to listen and learn." Licht reportedly described the comments as "unacceptable" during an editorial meeting.

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