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Making $24 Million Glasses of Lemonade: Don Lemon Reportedly Settles Severance Pay Dispute with CNN Over His 2023 Termination

Less than a year after being fired from the network, it seems that popular cable news anchor Don Lemon may have had the last laugh, chuckling all the way to the bank to cash an eight-figure check.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – APRIL 13: Don Lemon attends the 2023 Center Dinner at Cipriani Wall Street on April 13, 2023 in New York City. (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images)

A new report says CNN has agreed to pay the 57-year-old $24.5 million in a sweet separation deal ten months after firing him. The amount is the total of his final contract which would have been completed in 2027, according to The Wrap.

Bye, Bye CNN

According to the New York Bar Association, a separation deal or agreement is a contractual arrangement between an employer and employee that outlines the terms of a severance package or other benefits provided when the individual leaves the company. This agreement typically includes provisions requiring the individual to waive any legal claims they may have against the company.

Social media had a ball with the announcement of this news.

“He just saved black history month with this one,” one person commented.

Another wrote, “When one door closes another one opens When Life Gives You Lemons God will provide an out pour of Lemonade.”

Even Lemon hopped in on the joke, tweeting, “Why are people I haven’t heard from in years saying hey to me this morning and calling me big head?”

Lemon, who is soon to launch “The Don Lemon Show” on the X platform, was terminated after making controversial comments about then-presidential candidate Nikki Haley being past her prime during his morning show with Poppy Harlow and Kaitlan Collins. The comments about the Republican governor rubbed his co-hosts the wrong way leading to a souring of their work relationships.

He would ultimately publicly apologize and “participate in formal training” around sexism and ageism to better serve the viewers. However, within months, he was back in hot water with the suits.

In a contentious interview with Vivek Ramaswamy, the Republican presidential candidate asserted that Black people achieved their freedom after the Civil War.

Lemon interrupted, highlighting critical historical events like Reconstruction after the Civil War, which were systematically dismantled, prompting the necessity of the civil rights movement.

The guest was reportedly so flustered that after the interview he rushed to leave the station. The exchange, according to People, left “several CNN leaders exasperated.” These two events ultimately led to him being axed from the network he called home for a little under two decades.

The ousting was made public after Lemon took to social media and wrote, “I was informed this morning by my agent I have been terminated by CNN. I am stunned.”

“After 17 years at CNN, I would have thought that someone in management would have had the decency to tell me directly It is clear there are some larger issues at play,” he tweeted.

Lemon worked for CNN from September 2006 to April 2023, getting his own show “Primetime With Don Lemon” in 2014, which was rebranded as “Don Lemon Tonight” in 2021.

The Atlanta-based network would respond, “Don Lemon’s statement about this morning’s events is inaccurate. He was offered an opportunity to meet with management but instead released a statement on Twitter.”

Before the settlement deal, Lemon had an estimated net worth of $12 million. The one-time Harlemite, who recently sold his condo for $1.525 million, purchased a new home in Sag Harbor, a predominately Black community in The Hamptons, in 2016 for $3.1 million, Distractify reports.

Insiders knew that Lemon had a lot of money and that this deal was probably done months ago.

According to his friend Kara Swisher, who says she advised him not to take the X deal and work with Musk unless he got the money up front, spoke to Scott Galloway on their “The Pivot” podcast and spilled the beans.

“I think they paid Don a pile of money. I know they did, pile of money up front. The pile,” she said,.

“X paid Don Lemon?” Galloway pried.

Swisher answered, “Yes.”

“Really? … Oh, I didn’t know,” Galloway said in shock. “Well yeah. If that’s the case then, I think economic security is important. If he’s, if he’s…”

Swisher then answered, “He has a lot of money. … When they fired him, I think they had to pay out his contract.”

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