Arkansas Man Benjamin Matthews Charged With Threatening To Kill CNN Anchor Don Lemon

Don Lemon speaks at an awards gala in front of a red curtain
Ben Gabbe / Getty Images

A man has been arrested for allegedly making dozens of threatening and harassing calls to CNN and anchor Don Lemon. The 39-year-old Arkansas resident, Benjamin Craig Matthews, called the network over 40 times between October 31 and November 2 from a cell phone, according to a local Fox affiliate. Atlanta police took the man into custody on Wednesday after the local authorities identified the man.

The primary focus of Matthew’s ire appears to be CNN Tonight anchor Don Lemon. According to the Baxter County Sheriff’s Office, Matthews’ calls included general harassment, threats of bodily harm, and death threats toward the CNN anchor.

In one call to CNN’s operator, Matthews asked if he could be “directed to DL’s dead body hanging from a tree?” On November 1, he called the station to ask “Is DL dead yet? Can you help me kill that [redacted]?” In another, he threatened to “kick the [expletive] out of DL.”

Atlanta Police’s Homeland Security Department contacted the sheriff’s office after learning that the calls were originating from Matthews’ cell phone. Someone with “personal knowledge” helped investigators identify the man’s voice.

Matthews also appears to have contacted another television network, and other public officials and organizations, including Trump targets, Representative Maxine Waters, lawyer Michael Avenatti, and Senator Chuck Schumer. Lemon himself has also frequently been targeted by Trump, who once said that Lemon is the “dumbest man on television” and that he makes “LeBron look smart, which isn’t easy to do.”

The Arkansas man’s arrest comes just weeks after Cesar Sayoc was arrested after sending explosive devices to CNN and other liberal targets of President Donald Trump. CNN was forced to evacuate after receiving an explosive package, which did not detonate.

The threats also come the same week that Trump continued his attacks on the network. On Wednesday, the president got heated after Jim Acosta questioned him on the demonization of the caravan of immigrants seeking asylum in the U.S., which is currently moving through Mexico.

Lemon raised ire from conservatives after calling white men “the biggest terror threat” in the United States while talking about Cesar Sayoc and the anti-Semitic shooting at a synagogue in Pittsburgh.

“The biggest terror threat in this country is white men, most of them radicalized to the right, and we have to start doing something about them,” he said. “There is no travel ban on them. There is no ban on… you know, they had the Muslim ban. There is no ‘white guy ban.’ So what do we do about that?”