CNN host Don Lemon has made news lately for insisting the Black Lives Matter movement isn’t about Black-on-Black crime and downplaying a recent surge in gun violence – but it turns out the 2013 version of Lemon probably wouldn't care for the current edition.
“The Black Lives Matter movement is about police brutality and injustice in that manner, not about what’s happening in black neighborhoods,” Lemon said on Monday before telling actor Terry Crews he can start his own movement if he’s so concerned with “Black-on-Black” gun violence.
The "CNN Tonight" host also joked on Tuesday about conservative pundits who are concerned about an uptick in crime in Democratic cities. Lemon has emerged as a staunch defender of the Black Lives Matter movement, but only seven years ago he lectured Black people to take responsibility for violence in their communities.
A 2013 clip of Lemon that was recently unearthed by “Tucker Carlson Tonight” revealed that Lemon once reported that 72 percent of African American babies are born out of wedlock and children with “absent fathers” are more likely to become criminals.
Lemon also criticized rap music, all while CNN’s on-screen graphics said “five ways to fix our community” and warned Black people to “clean up your act.”
“Studies show that lack of a male role model is an express train right to prison,” Lemon said. “Please, Black folks, and if this doesn’t apply to you, I’m not talking to you, pay attention to and think about what has been presented in recent history as acceptable behavior.”
Lemon then blasted “hip-hop and rap culture” that is widely embraced by Black Americans.
"A culture that glorifies everything I just mentioned, thug and reprehensible behavior, a culture that is making a lot of people rich, just not you. And it’s not going to,” Lemon said in 2013.
Lemon’s 2013 remarks are a stark contrast to his recent rhetoric, and the clip went viral as a result. NewsBusters managing editor Curtis Houck wrote that the clip “encapsulated CNN’s tumble toward the farcical and incapable of viewpoints contrary to the liberal mob they help lead.”
Author and political pundit Dave Rubin was among the many critics to mock Lemon's hypocrisy, saying the CNN host went backward.
“The reason this clip on Lemon is lighting up the Internet isn’t really about hypocrisy, people can honestly change their opinions based on new information. (I sure have.) It’s that Lemon went from making reasoned, fact-based arguments, to emotional propaganda. It’s backward,” Rubin wrote.
Other old clips of Lemon were unearthed afterward, including footage of him declaring he was "tired" of talking about race.
Others took to Twitter with thoughts on the CNN host: