Bromance over? Don Lemon slams former CNN bestie Chris Cuomo for breaking ‘journalistic standards’
Lemon argues Cuomo shouldn’t receive his severance, according to Wall Street Journal
The years-long bromance between CNN’s Don Lemon and former colleague Chris Cuomo is in trouble.
Lemon turned on his old network pal on Monday, as WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar fielded questions during an in-house town hall from disgruntled CNN staffers who are depressed and angry that CNN’s now-former boss, Jeff Zucker, was forced to step down last week.
Kilar was reportedly asked if CNN will pay Cuomo his severance when Lemon jumped in.
"Did you think about what message it sends to the journalists in the company and also to the larger public that someone can be found to break with those journalistic standards and then get paid handsomely for it?" Lemon asked, according to the Wall Street Journal.
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The WSJ noted that Lemon claimed he was asking "on behalf of people who posed that question to him."
Kilar didn’t answer the question.
CNN essentially confirmed the WSJ account in its media newsletter by noting the paper obtained "a recording of the town hall."
Lemon and Cuomo became known for their nightly handover, when the "Cuomo Prime Time" namesake would wrap up his show by sharing the screen with his colleague as "Don Lemon Tonight" was set to begin. The liberal hosts regularly expressed how much they love each other and spoke about how their relationship extended outside the office.
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CNN fired Cuomo in December after a laundry list of scandals, including advising his embattled brother, the former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, D., behind the scenes over his sexual harassment accusation, as well as working to dig up information on his accusers and journalists investigating him. CNN is attempting to withhold the younger Cuomo’s severance, but people close to CNN have told Fox Business the former "Cuomo Prime Time" host is preparing a legal battle for money he feels he’s owed.
Before Cuomo's exit, the two primetime pals would finish each other's sentences, playfully bicker, refer to each other as "brother," tease each other, sometimes agree to disagree and regularly crack up at each other’s jokes. The off-the-cuff nightly segment was a favorite for CNN viewers. Lemon and Cuomo even had a podcast playing off their lovefest titled, "The Handoff" that went on hiatus shortly before Cuomo's suspension and firing.
"The love viewers witness between CNN’s Don Lemon and Chris Cuomo in the handoff between their shows each night is real. Now they’re stepping out from behind the anchor desk for a weekly conversation where nothing is off limits," the official Apple Podcast synopsis said.
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Lemon offered an emotional, on-air eulogy-type tribute to Zucker last week, joining other CNN talent who have openly mourned his departure.
"It's been a really tough day, today, and a tough few days for us here at CNN," Lemon told his viewers Friday. "So the truth is that we're all heartbroken because we lost our leader here. We lost a man who was the backbone, the glue and the spirit of this company, the man who I personally credit with change in my life, the man who believed in me when nobody else did. He is the reason that you have a gay, Black man with two hours of primetime, a show with my name on it, the only anchor of color in primetime on cable news, think about that. You want to talk about diversity? Here it is."
Fox News’ Joseph A. Wulfsohn contributed to this report.