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Women's groups weigh in on Lemon's 'sexist' comments about Haley: ‘Wouldn’t say that about Hillary, Kamala’
February 18 2023, 08:00

Representatives from several major women’s advocacy groups slammed CNN anchor Don Lemon for his comments about 2024 GOP presidential candidate Nikki Haley.

After claiming that the 51-year-old Haley was past her "prime" to run for presidential office, leaders of the Independent Women’s Forum, the League of Women Voters, Maggie’s List, and other women’s advocacy groups, accused Lemon of "discrimination," called his statement a "sexist attack," and declared it was proof of the "far left’s rampant intolerance and hypocrisy."

Independent Women’s Forum President Carrie Lukas insisted that Lemon would have never said the same thing of former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., who are much older than the former South Carolina governor.


Lemon started a media firestorm on Thursday for remarks he made about Haley’s age during a broadcast on "CNN This Morning." 

He stated, "This whole talk about age makes me uncomfortable. I think it’s the wrong road to go down. She says people, you know, politicians are something if not in their prime. Nikki Haley isn't in her prime, sorry. A woman is considered to be in their prime in 20s and 30s and maybe 40s."

Lemon’s statement received immediate pushback from his female co-host Poppy Harlow, who pressed him on what he meant by "prime." Though he kept pushing: "It depends, just like 'prime,' if you look it up. If you Google it, when is a woman in her prime, it'll say 20s, 30s and 40s."

He added, "I’m not saying I agree with that. I think she has to be careful about saying that, you know, politicians are in their prime." 

Elsewhere, he declared, "I’m just saying what the facts are." He then told his coworkers to "Google it."

Media pundits and social media influencers tore into Lemon as soon as the segment aired. Some called his words "sexist," and "utter garbage," while others pointed out that the anchor is actually older than Haley at 56, and therefore past his prime. 

Haley herself responded to Lemon, telling Fox News on Thursday, "I wasn't sitting there saying sexist, middle-aged CNN anchors need to have mental competency tests, although [Lemon] may have just proven that point. What I was saying is we need to be transparent."

Following the backlash, Lemon expressed "regret" for his comments on Twitter and further apologized to his CNN colleagues on a Friday call.


Several women’s advocacy groups weighed in on Lemon’s comments Friday, asserting they were sexist, discriminating and hypocritical.

Maggie’s List national spokesperson Tina Ramirez blasted Lemon’s double standard in making the remarks. In a statement, she said, "It’s telling that Lemon would make these comments about Nikki Haley, but not about Joe Biden, who is about 30 years older than her. But it’s also not surprising."

Ramirez noted that Maggie’s list, a PAC focused on "electing conservative women to federal public office," has "endorsed dozens of strong, conservative women across the country who have had to deal with exactly these kinds of comments from the leftists like Lemon."

She then took one last shot at the anchor, saying, "If you’re looking for proof positive of the far left’s rampant intolerance and hypocrisy, look no further than to how they respond to women breaking the mold of what the left expects them to be and believe."

CEO of the League of Women Voters, Virginia Kase Solomon defended Haley on Twitter Friday morning. She wrote, "The idea that women have an expiration date or somehow our prime is equated to youth is nothing new. This is yet another example of the discrimination women face when it comes to aging and it’s not okay."

Solomon added, "For the record, some of the most impressive women I know are over 50."

CEO and President of "Concerned Women for America" Penny Nance provided Fox News Digital with a statement on the CNN host’s remarks. Nance blasted Lemon for not only this incident, but for others. 

She stated, "The problem is that this is not an isolated incident. Maybe Don Lemon should start apologizing to his co-hosts and the numerous other women at CNN who he has offended over the years. Women all over D.C. have been telling me stories of how they have been bullied by him. He's done the same to anyone who is a conservative, Christian or a Republican. 

Nance went even further, declaring, "It is time for CNN to fire Don Lemon."

Fox News Digital also spoke to Independent Women’s Forum president Carrie Lukas, who claimed Lemon’s invective against Haley showcased an "obvious double standard." She stated: "Nobody would ever talk about a 51-year-old man as past his prime so this is obviously something that shows a different lens through which men are judging women."

Lukas also noted her belief that this treatment is something that is "specific to conservative women" and that the "mainstream media has just an unbelievable negative view of conservative women and holds conservative women to a tremendously different standard."

She added, "You really can’t imagine [Lemon] saying it about a Democratic woman, whether that’s Nancy Pelosi, Hillary Clinton, Kamala Harris."