Elon Musk abruptly scraps X partnership with former CNN anchor Don Lemon

Don Lemon’s partnership with Elon Musk’s social media network is over before it began. 

X (formerly known as Twitter) ended its commercial partnership with the former CNN anchor shortly after he interviewed the billionaire, the company said Wednesday in a post on the platform. The interview was scheduled to run on the maiden broadcast of “The Don Lemon show” on X on March 18.

X in January announced that Lemon would bring his “unique and honest voice” to the service in three 30-minute episodes per week. The company at the time also unveiled two other news shows featuring former U.S. congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard and sports radio host and former ESPN star Jim Rome. 

But Musk on Wednesday derided Lemon’s approach as “basically just ‘CNN, but on social media.'” 

X said Lemon 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.”

In a video posted on his own X account, Lemon said “Musk is mad at me.”

“Throughout our conversation, I kept reiterating to him that although it was tense at times, I thought it was good for people to see and hear our exchange and that they would learn from our conversation,” Lemon said.

“Apparently free speech absolutism doesn’t apply when it comes to questions about him from people like me,” Lemon added, noting that his March 8 interview with Musk would appear March 18 on YouTube and via podcast.

Musk has repeatedly professed his belief in uncensored expression on social media, calling himself a “free speech absolutist.”

Lemon was fired by CNN in 2023 after a 17-year run with the network. His ouster came a little over two months after he apologized for on-air comments about then-Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley not being in “her prime” that he made during his short run as a morning show host on the network. 

—The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Kate Gibson

Kate Gibson is a reporter for CBS MoneyWatch in New York.

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