Don Lemon denies claims he made list of demands before canning: ‘Right to approve any changes in X policy’

Before former CNN host Don Lemon got fired from his potential replacement gig at the social media platform X earlier this week, he allegedly handed owner Elon Musk a ridiculous wish list of demands.

As previously reported, following Lemon’s ouster from CNN last year, Musk graciously offered him the chance to host his own commercially branded show on X.

Lemon smartly accepted the offer at the time (see below) but then turned around and allegedly submitted a ridiculous list of demands, a claim the former CNN host has denied.

“The ex-CNN anchor sent over an astronomical wish list to Elon Musk during contract talks to host a show on the billionaire’s social media platform X,” the New York Post has exclusively learned.

The wish list reportedly included “a free Tesla Cybertruck, a $5 million upfront payment on top of an $8 million salary, an equity stake in the multibillion-dollar company, and the right to approve any changes in X policy as it relates to news content.”

Lemon also allegedly demanded “a private jet flight to Las Vegas, a suite for him and his fiancé, and that the company pay for their day [of] drinking and massages.”

And finally, Lemon reportedly asked to interview Musk. The billionaire businessman accepted the request, but it was during the interview recorded about a week ago that the deal completely fell apart thanks to Lemon’s own doing.

“Lemon was fired hours after the one-on-one sit-down, with Musk calling the anchor ‘dull’ and ‘underwhelming,'” according to the Post. “The one-and-half hour grilling included testy exchanges about Musk’s political leanings, his past drug use and the site’s content moderation policy.”

In other words, he continued acting like a combative CNN host, as noted by Musk in a tweet posted Wednesday:

In an official company statement published after the interview, X said Lemon is still welcome to publish his content on the platform, but that the company would not be moving forward with a “commercial partnership” with him.

“The Don Lemon Show is welcome to publish its content on X, without censorship, as we believe in providing a platform for creators to scale their work and connect with new communities,” the statement reads.

“However, like any enterprise, we reserve the right to make decisions about our business partnerships, and after careful consideration, X decided not to enter into a commercial partnership with the show,” it continues.

Lemon for his part plans to continue with his show, including by publishing the video of him interviewing Musk.

“Our conversation will be available on YouTube, wherever you listen to podcasts and X,” he said in a statement published to Instagram. “This will be just the first of many episodes of The Don Lemon Show. While Elon goes back on his word, I will be doubling down on my commitment to free speech and I cannot wait to get started.”

 

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A post shared by Don Lemon (@donlemonofficial)

FYI, Lemon has denied that he’d handed Musk a giant wish list after being hired by X.

“There is nothing in your list of demands that you claim Don made of X that is true. Literally nothing,” his spokesperson told the Post.

Lemon’s agents at the United Talent Agency (UTA) have also denied the claim.

“This is absolute, complete utter nonsense without an iota of truth to it,”  UTA vice chair Jay Sures said.

Also, despite Musk canceling his contract with Lemon, the former CNN host reportedly still demands to be paid.

“One person familiar with the agreement pushed back on the argument that X doesn’t owe Lemon money, saying that X’s legal department took weeks to get a contract to the host’s team,” Semafor reported.

“Further, according to one person familiar with the deal, X had begun selling ads on the show, and its CEO Linda Yaccarino had promoted the deal at the CES conference in January,” according to Semafor.

Speaking with Semafor, Lemon’s spokesperson said he “expects to be paid for” the deal, period.

“If we have to go to court, we will,” the spokesperson added.

Vivek Saxena

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