Don Lemon Returns to CNN to Cry About Elon Musk Deleting Their X Deal

March 14th, 2024 1:30 PM

After almost a year of living in obscurity after being fired by CNN, disgraced primetime host Don Lemon was set to return as a political commentator with a show that would premier exclusively on X; with owner Elon Musk being his first guest. But the dream arraignment was over before it really started as Musk killed the deal after Lemon conducted a 90-minute interview that was apparently rather contentious. With their deal torn up, Lemon sprinted to his former employer to whine and claim Musk didn’t really value free speech.

Despite CNN being largely opposed to the idea of free speech (often only favoring the freedom if the press portion of the First Amendment), OutFront host Erin Burnett started off her show by trying to paint Musk as a hypocrite. “Now, this decision coming as Musk had, of course, publicly courted Lemon and has repeatedly made a commitment to free speech when he bought Twitter again and again and again,” she said, following up with a montage of instances of Musk talking about free speech.

In explaining “what happened,” Lemon admitted that there were “tense” moments during the interview and attacked Musk’s commitment to free speech. “Free speech is only important when someone you don’t like, or I would say someone who doesn’t have your same point of view are — someone is — if they’re allowed to speak freely and to say their point of view,” he bloviated. “Apparently, that doesn’t matter to Elon Musk. It’s just for maybe talking points for him or rhetoric…”

Lemon, a documented race baiter, might have also tried to make the flare-up about race because he suggested Musk didn’t like getting “questions about him from people like me.”

“Freedom of speech does not mean, I guess, the same thing to him as it does to me,” Lemon declared. What was made clear from Lemon’s struggle session with Burnett was that their interpretation of free speech just included their ability to attack Musk and demand he subject himself to their hate.



In the clips cherry-picked to be shown on CNN, Lemon accused Musk of being a racist, scrutinized the kind of medical prescriptions Musk received from his doctor, and suggested he might be funneling money to former President Donald Trump.

Lemon and Burnett made it clear the intent was to harm Musk and his businesses, particularly those that intersected with his government contract work. Despite eventually admitting Musk had passed every random drug test he’s ever been subjected to and they “don’t have any evidence,” they tried to portray the eccentric billionaire as a hardcore junkie akin to Hunter Biden (Click “expand”):

LEMON: Elon Musk is responsible for satellites, for Starlink. He’s responsible for Tesla. He’s responsible for a number of different companies on the — in the stock market.


LEMON: And I think that it is important for people to understand his mindset, whether he’s using drugs legally or not, even — even if the ones he — that he’s using —

BURNETT: Well, one of that most powerful people on the planet.

LEMON: — he’s one — but one that he’s supposed to be — that he is using prescription-wise, that he’s following the — a doctor’s orders under that.


LEMON: But yes, he’s one of the most consequential people to the planet. And that was one reason why I was attracted to do X.

BURNETT: Right. Obviously, we don’t have any evidence either way on his drug use, but I think it’s important that it comes up. Obviously, we’ve got a clip there. You — there’s more —

LEMON: CNN did not report that. The Wall Street Journal strictly reported that.

BURNETT: — right.

LEMON: That was not my reporting, but I had to ask him about it, and I also asked him if he was concerned about another Biden administration. One reason I wanted to ask him those questions if he was going to lose his security clearance because of that, or he might be in jeopardy of losing his security clearance, and he said no, because he did say to me, I do not use drugs illegally. I have random drug tests and I’ve always passed those drug tests.

Lemon also said they “don’t have any evidence” that Musk was not a junkie “either,” which was a ridiculous assertion to make since he still retained his security clearances.

Lemon grew indignant as they were nearing the end of the CNN segment. “I never raise my voice…And he supposedly says this is a public square for all. Maybe we’re learning that a public square should not be privately owned by someone who doesn’t think that there should be any moderation on that platform.”

X had not banned Lemon’s account after the deal was canceled. So, despite Lemon’s false claims, Musk had not infringed on his free speech on the platform.

In a comment posted on his platform hours before Burnett’s show aired but was never cited, Musk explained: “[Lemon’s] approach was basically just ‘CNN, but on social media’, which doesn’t work, as evidenced by the fact that CNN is dying.”



In another interesting wrinkle, as reported by Puck News’s Dylan Byers (another former CNNer), Lemon’s spokesperson was Allison Gollust, the former CNN executive and lover of former CNN boss Jeff Zucker.

“And, instead of it being the real Don Lemon, it was really just Jeff Zucker talking through Don, so lacked authenticity,” Musk continued in the post. “All this said, Lemon/Zucker are of course welcome to build their viewership on this platform along with everyone else.”

As NewsBusters previously reported, Lemon was not a good fit for X and was the real hypocrite. Lemon had a long history of using his CNN platform to attack Musk and X. 

To read the full transcript, click here.