Elon Musk abruptly cancels Don Lemon’s X talk show hours after interview

Author: Editors Desk Source: The Guardian
March 13, 2024 at 13:54
Don Lemon on 12 December 2021 in New York. Photograph: Evan Agostini/Invision/AP
Don Lemon on 12 December 2021 in New York. Photograph: Evan Agostini/Invision/AP
Lemon said Musk texted ‘contract terminated’ after the former CNN anchor interviewed the billionaire

The former CNN anchor Don Lemon announced on Wednesday that Elon Musk had abruptly terminated a deal to exclusively host Lemon’s new talkshow on X, formerly Twitter. Lemon said in a post on the platform that Musk cancelled the partnership hours after the two of them had filmed an interview, which was set to be part of the show’s debut episode. Lemon said Musk texted him, “contract terminated”.

“His commitment to a global town square where all questions can be asked and all ideas can be shared seems not to include questions of him from people like me,” Lemon said in the post.

Musk did not deny axing Lemon’s show. The billionaire tweeted, “His approach was basically just ‘CNN, but on social media’,’ which doesn’t work, as evidenced by the fact that CNN is dying. And, instead of it being the real Don Lemon, it was really just Jeff Zucker talking through Don, so lacked authenticity. All this said, Lemon/Zucker are of course welcome to build their viewership on this platform along with everyon

Lemon stated in his Wednesday post that he would still air the interview with Musk on YouTube and on X, and included the side-eye emoji.

“While Elon goes back on his word, I will be doubling down on my commitment to free speech,” Lemon stated.

Musk’s company first announced the talkshow deal with Lemon in January, as X sought to venture more into video content and lure big-name hosts to the platform. The Don Lemon Show was set to air three 30-minute episodes a week. Lemon was one of CNN’s marquee stars before the network fired him in a surprise turn last April, following his internal disputes with other staff and a failed run as morning show host.

When Lemon announced his departure from CNN in a post on X, Musk asked in a reply whether the host would consider doing his show on the platform and claimed that the “audience is bigger” than CNN. Musk has similarly hosted the former Fox News host Tucker Carlson’s show on the platform after the network fired Carlson last year.

“Elon publicly encouraged me to join X with a new show, saying I would have his ‘full support’, and that his ‘digital town square is for all’,” Lemon said on Wednesday. “I took Elon and his management team’s word that they, for the first time, were interested in working directly with new and diverse voices.”

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