Football legend-turned-activist Herschel Walker is calling for CNN to fire Don Lemon after the “CNN Tonight” host laughed when rapper Kanye West was referred to as “the token negro of the Trump administration" during a segment that aired Tuesday night.
The segment -- which has been slammed as "racist" -- began with Lemon asking if President Donald Trump is simply “using Kanye as a prop to win over black voters before the midterms.”
CNN political commentator Bakari Sellers responded with a jab at West.
“Anti-intellectualism simply isn’t cool,” Sellers said. “Kanye West is what happens when Negros don’t read.”
Sellers’ remark prompted laughter from Lemon and fellow panelist Tara Setmayer, who followed up by saying West is “the token negro of the Trump administration.”
Walker, who has openly supported Trump, is also an outspoken advocate for mental health issues – which were also mocked during the segment. Walker took to Twitter to express his disbelief.
“Went to bed appalled over Don Lemon's despicable behavior laughing at Tara Setmayer and Bakari Sellers' awful remarks about Kanye West’s visit with [Trump]! Woke up wondering why CNN doesn’t take all three off the air?” Walker tweeted, adding the hashtag "#Shameful."
Setmayer fired back at Walker: “Bless your heart… You want to silence me because I expressed a different opinion than yours? Because I called out Kanye for what he is? Uninformed! I’m an actual conservative, who’s worked on policy advancing those principles for 20-plus years. I’ll never be a shill for Trump.”
Walker – who has dabbled in mixed martial arts in addition to his iconic football career – isn’t one to back down from a fight and quickly responded.
“No...Tara Setmayer, anyone that is African American with an opinion different than yours, you want to call them out by using the N-word and Don Lemon is laughing? To me that’s bullying and shameful," he tweeted back.
CNN did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Walker was not the only person who took offense to the CNN segment.
“These reprehensible, racist comments on CNN are typical of the Trump-hating left” that exists in the mainstream media, Fox News contributor Deroy Murdock said.
“Black Americans who think for ourselves are mocked and degraded with words we last saw under Jim Crow. If President Trump had no black supporters, they would call his circle 'lily white,'” Murdock said. "Now, one of America's most prominent black entertainers praises and visits the president, and he is trivialized as a 'token' who 'doesn't read.'”
Murdock added that the “only silver lining in this vile cloud is that the supposedly bigoted Trump presidency has delivered the lowest black unemployment in American history.”
Donald Trump Jr. slammed CNN for the segment, calling West a “wildly successful businessman."
He added, “Why is free thought and expression so dangerous and scary to liberals?”
Turning Point USA’s Candace Owens told Fox News host Laura Ingraham on Wednesday the segment was “not only racist, it was absolutely despicable.”
“I cannot believe it would be allowed on any network, least of all having a host that’s laughing as if it’s funny,” Owens said.