Adam Polaski

Don Lemon Is My Corporate Media Crush

Filed By Adam Polaski | July 27, 2011 6:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Media
Tags: CNN, Don Lemon, Harry Potter, Hogwarts tuition

I have a new corporate media crush. And his name is Don Lemon. Yes, the recently-out CNN anchor deserves some serious props for the frequency with which he's calling out his colleagues at the 24 hour news network for their bullshit.

Jon Stewart at The Daily Show has put together a new package called "Don Lemon Appears Not to Care for CNN," where he hilariously juxtaposes Lemon's on-air denouncements of CNN's coverage. The "top stories" Lemon criticizes are the calculations for how much it would cost to go to the fictional Hogwarts School of Witchcraft & Wizardry, a man dressed up as a devil to celebrate the heat, and something involving an egg that walks the line between magic trick and science experiment.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
CNN Anchor Don Lemon Appears Not to Care for CNN
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You can probably tweet at CNN your encouragement of Don Lemon's mockery of the news network. They'll likely air your tweets in their 5pm hour.

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I love Don. He's just as nice as he appears on TV too. I can't wait to see him at the NLGJA conference.

Bil, now that you are a media giant, you ought to go for a coup and ask him for an interview.

... and if he says Yes, I'll be absolutely jealous as Hell. I won't hunt you down and kill you -- but I will fantasize about it.

Bil, the above is just a joke. Maybe a lousy, not-in-good-judgment joke. But just a joke.

His condescension toward the concerns Ashley Love (as well as Monica Roberts and others) raised at the NAACP's recent LG(bt)town hall wasn't very lovable, though. This is what he said about her on Twitter yesterday in response to another's criticism (!/donlemoncnn/status/96256854048518144):

"oh. u must've heard about unstable lady who crashed the panel. she kept attacking us for no reason. hope she gets some help."

^Word! Here he is, some guy who just came out (and I agree being a sportscaster and coming out takes fortitude) and, wow, now he's some big activist? He's invited to the NAACP panel as though he's an expert and makes a snide comment about an African American trans woman who dares to call them out on their exclusionary practices. Lemon strikes me as being an arrogant bastard. Let him lose his job and media pulpit due to coming out and see if he has the nerve to speak like that. :(

Let's be clear - if you had someone jump up and crash a panel you were moderating, who spouts a bunch of ridiculous charges about things he'd supposedly done (he hadn't), and gets booed out of the room for making derogatory comments about transgender women (versus transsexuals, of course!), you'd think she was a nut too. And she is.

I've had Ashley crash panels I sat on and do the same thing. "Transgenders are just men who wear dresses," referring to transwomen as "he," etc. She's not an ally of the trans community. During that panel she called one panelist a "liar" when he said he'd never said something she claimed he had. Whattaya know? She had the wrong guy - but it didn't stop her from calling him names and then continuing to do things like flip him the bird while his back was turned.

Ashley edited that video to remove the end where she continued her diatribe, got derogatory, and got booed by the attendees.

I have criticized Ashley frequently in the past for a lot of reasons. I believe 'Magnet' is a fictitious organization consisting only of herself, she's a media hog, that's she's incredibly sloppy with facts and that she falls into the "woman born transsexual" nastiness.

I would also remind you the only reason she's as well known as she is comes from mostly Gay organizations welcoming her to fund raising/media events because she's an attractive/passable trans woman of color (AKA someone they're actually comfortable with and the A list people wouldn't be embarrassed being seen with). Her 'very minor celebrity' is largely a creation of the Gay community, so take ownership of her.

For all her problems, sometimes even Ashley is right. And she was right about this panel and how dead wrong it was that zero trans persons were involved. And it's clear that Don Lemon knows squat about trans persons or bissexuals of color and what they go through is unqualified to talk about the LGBT community and that the NAACP invited him because he's vaguely a celebrity rather than someone who knows what he's talking about, which shows this panel was for media purposes only not for serious discussion. And for you to decide it 'wasn't a snub' is absurd. If they hadn't had a gay man on the panel would that be a mistake not be a snub? They didn't invite a trans person because they were afraid the black community would be more averse to an LGBT event if the "freaks" showed up.

And Bil... while I respect you for many things you do, it doesn't surprise me in the least that someone trans would challenge an 'LGBT' panel you participated in either and wonder would you be as outraged if Larry Kramer or Act Up disrupted a panel they considered exclusionary?

The psychiatric scapegoating of trans and especially transsexual people as confused and deluded has a long and insidious history within the gay and lesbian movement, from Ronald Gold to Janice Raymond to Julie Bindel. In the context of this history, Mr. Lemon's ad hominem attack on Ashley Love, as an "unstable lady" in need of "help" is particularly insensitive and offensive to me. Trans and especially transsexual people lose our jobs, homes, families, civil rights and human dignity to these stereotypes. Mr. Lemon should perhaps make an effort to familiarize himself with people from the trans community and the barriers we face, before taking the global stage as an authority on "GLBT" issues. I would offer him a copy of my book, if he would read it.

I agree with Bil. I had a Twitter exchange with Don yesterday and it seems to me that he had an "Oh shit! moment. Hard to tell with 140 character posts of course, but my sense was that he's a good guy who, like many mainstream journalists, needs some education on trans issues and I think he now sees the need and has an interest. I strongly suspect he's going to get exactly that.

Becky... I'd like to hear more about his 'oh shit' moment. What was he saying 'oh shit' about? Had he heard zero about the concern some trans people were having about the panel? I understand it was a private conversation, but I'd be curious to hear more about your exchange with him.

You should listen to the show tonight, Gina. I'll be talking about it a bit. Dana Beyer is our guest. Also will be carried on TransF.

It's incredibly disheartening and telling of the larger LG(bt) movement when someone who has not been out for more than a year is called to sit on a historic panel while women like Monica Roberts and Ashley Love have been active and out for many, many, MANY years are ignored or dismissed.

Yes, celebrities and pseudo-celebrities fill seats, but would have really been that big of hardship to invite black bi and trans activists to present?

Britney Austin | July 29, 2011 3:52 AM

Don Lemon was horrible to Ashley Love and hateful to transsexuals. He is not my ally.

Don Lemon did not arrange the NAACP panel single-handedly, and I think the NAACP gaff was a problem in LGBT awareness, not a deliberate snub. And if it was deliberate, it had to do with teaching anti-LGBT bigots to walk before you hand them the chewing gum.

(Adam, baby-face-and-baby-cakes Don is your latest crush? ... Hey, get in line, right behind this Dirty Old Man, white boy!)

If Don Lemon is truly the good guy that both Bil and Jillian believe he is, then it's time he issued a public apology to Ashley and pledge to become better educated about trans issues before he makes any further public comments about us.