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As Don Lemon returns to the air, word has it that he does so under a “final warning” from CNN over his recent comments concerning presidential hopeful Nikki Haley.

According to reports, the network announced that Lemon would return to the air late Monday night (February 20th). CNN’s chairman, Chris Licht, said in the brief statement that the anchor “has agreed to participate in formal training” regarding his recent comments. He added: “It is important to me that CNN balances accountability with fostering a culture in which people can own, learn and grow from their mistakes.”

Insiders have stated that the 56-year-old’s comments about the Republican presidential hopeful Nikki Haley’s age caused a great uproar among CNN’s brass, which reportedly warned Lemon that this situation was the “final warning” to him and that one more incident would result in his being dismissed from the network.

The CNN This Morning co-host had been off the air since last Thursday (February 16th), when in a discussion about politicians and mandatory mental competency testing suggested by Haley he ventured that the subject made him “uncomfortable”. “Nikki Haley isn’t in her prime, sorry,” he said. Co-host Poppy Harlow pushed back and asked Lemon to clarify, and he responded “Don’t shoot the messenger, I’m just saying what the facts are” before concluding, “Google it.”

Lemon would soon apologize publicly on Twitter. “The reference I made to a woman’s “prime” this morning was inartful and irrelevant, as colleagues and loved ones have pointed out, and I regret it. A woman’s age doesn’t define her either personally or professionally. I have countless women in my life who prove that every day,” he wrote. He would then appear on an editorial call on Friday with Licht and other staffers to apologize profusely.

The situation comes at a fraught time for CNN and the new morning show. Ratings haven’t been as favorable as CNN had hoped, with MSNBC and Fox News still dominating viewers’ attention. Eric Hall, who served as producer on the show, departed last month to handle programming at the 11 P.M. hour amid growing rumors of tension between Lemon, Harlow, and fellow co-host Kaitlan Collins. Lemon has come under fire for previous age-related comments regarding President Joe Biden and was also entangled in the controversy concerning his former co-host Chris Cuomo last year.

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