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Stephen A. Smith blasts Don Lemon over Nikki Haley comments: ‘She’s not some runway model for Victoria’s Secret’

New York Post logo: MainLogo New York Post 3/21/2023 Ariel Zilber

ESPN host Stephen A. Smith lashed out at Don Lemon over his sexist comments on CNN about Nikki Haley, saying the presidential candidate is not “some runway model for Victoria’s Secret.”

“Age has nothing to do with it. That’s number one,” Smith, who hosts the network’s popular “First Take” daily sports talk show, told Mediaite.

“Number two, [Haley is] not some runway model for Victoria’s Secret or some other magazine or Essence magazine or something.”

“This is a presidential candidate and a former governor, the first lady of a state,” Smith added, apparently confusing her title as South Carolina’s chief executive.

Lemon, 57, sparked an uproar last month when he said during a “CNN This Morning” broadcast that the 51-year-old Haley, who had recently declared her candidacy for the GOP nomination for president, wasn’t “in her prime.”

“What are you talking about, she’s beyond her prime? What’s the matter with you?” Smith said. “I know some women in their 40s and their 50s that look a hell of a lot better than some women in their 20s.”

“I don’t know what the hell he’s talking about,” Smith added.

© Provided by New York Post Stephen A. Smith, the ESPN personality, criticized Don Lemon’s sexist comments about Nikki Haley.Getty Images

The Post reached out to Smith and CNN for comment.

Smith told Mediaite that he was “hurt” by Lemon’s remarks “because I like Don Lemon.”

“I’ve been on his show on several occasions. He’s interviewed me many times,” Smith said.

“What Don Lemon said was incredibly irresponsible and incredibly wrong.”

The backlash forced Lemon to take a hiatus during which he apologized. He was also required by the network to undergo sensitivity training.

Smith said he didn’t want to make it seem like he was “piling on” the fallen broadcasting star.

“I don’t want to throw shade on him. It was a mistake,” Smith said, urging the public to “let him go on and live his life.”

© Provided by New York Post Smith also urged the public to forgive Lemon (pictured).Getty Images for CNN

“I think he should be forgiven,” Smith said of Lemon.

Smith continued: “These people that want him to lose his job because of it and all that — he messed up, y’all.”

“We all mess up. I mean, people need to get over it,” Smith said.

© Provided by New York Post Lemon made the remarks when commenting on Nikki Haley, who declared her candidacy for the GOP nomination for president.AFP via Getty Images

Lemon had stunned his co-hosts Poppy Harlow and Kaitlan Collins with his rant about Haley.

“I think it’s the wrong road to go down. She says people, you know, politicians are suddenly not in their prime. Nikki Haley isn’t in her prime,” Lemon said.

“A woman is considered to be in their prime in [their] 20s and 30s and maybe 40s.”

© Provided by New York Post Lemon’s comments prompted co-host Poppy Harlow (right) to storm off the set. His other co-host, Kaitlan Collins, is seen left.Stephen Lovekin/Shutterstock

The comment prompted pushback from Harlow, who subsequently stormed off the set in anger.

The incident came weeks after Lemon reportedly berated Collins for allegedly talking over him during a broadcast.


New York Post

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