CNN Urged To Fire Don Lemon Over Involvement In Jussie Smollett Hoax

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Damir Mujezinovic

In January 2019, Hollywood actor Jussie Smollett told the Chicago police that he had been assaulted by two people he described as white Trump supporters wearing Make America Great Again (MAGA) hats.

But the whole incident turned out to be an elaborate hoax, with authorities establishing that Smollett hired two Nigerian immigrants and paid them each $3,500 to stage the attack.

Ultimately, Smollett was charged with disorderly conduct for filing false police reports, and is currently on trial. Below is the latest update on the case -- it involves CNN host Don Lemon.

Don Lemon's Role

Smollett told the court on Monday that he realized police considered the attack on him a hoax when he received a text message from Lemon.

In fact, Smollett admitted that the main reason he refused to hand over his phone to police was the text message he received from the CNN anchor, as reported by The New York Post.

When news of the attack initially broke in 2019, Lemon -- who is friends with Smollett -- covered the supposed incident extensively. He also covered the trial on Monday, but did not even once mention the fact that his name came up.


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Critics Slam CNN

As soon as it was revealed that Lemon helped his famous friend, critics on social media and elsewhere urged CNN to suspend or fire the anchor.

"More activism by an 'anchor' at CNN. The network needs to now address this publicly as well. These texts from Lemon to Smollett came during an active high-profile investigation. CNN mum thus far," The Hill columnist Joe Concha wrote.

"Really, @donlemon?Did you do for @JussieSmollett what @ChrisCuomo did for his sexual assaulting brother @andrewcuomo?" author Tony Shaffer asked in a tweet.

Calls To Fire Lemon

As Newsweek reported, other critics soon joined in.

"If Don Lemon tipped off Jussie Smollett about police investigating the hate crime hoax, CNN should fire him immediately!" conservative political commentator and author Nick Adams said in a tweet.

Comedian Tim Young echoed these sentiments.

"After Jussie Smollett's testimony that Don Lemon tipped him off to the Chicago PD not believing his story... he should be the next to get tanked from CNN," he wrote.

"CNN does not have journalists. It has activists," writer Carmine Sabia chimed in.

Lemon Criticized Smollett For Lying

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Though Lemon has yet to address the latest developments in the Smollett case, he has criticized the actor for lying

"He even lied to a lot of people... including me. And that's not cool. He squandered the good will of very high-profile people who one day may be running this country like Kamala Harris and Cory Booker and people like President Trump," the host stated.

As of this writing, CNN has not addressed the controversy, which came just days after it decided to fire Chris Cuomo.