The 56-year-old “CNN This Morning” co-host said during Thursday’s episode that former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley isn’t “in her prime” as a woman over 50.
Patricia Heaton had an epic response to Lemon’s comments, listing off her many accomplishments after 50. “Hey Ladies – @donlemon thinks women over 50 are past their prime! Let’s start #primetime and list some of the things we’ve accomplished in these glorious later years,” she challenged on Twitter Friday.
In a lengthy Twitter thread, Heaton, 64, wrote that she produced the comedy “Unexpected,” wrote and published the book “Your Second Act: Inspiring Stories of Reinvention,” created the Emmy-winning Food Network show “Patricia Heaton Parties,” published the cookbook “Food for Family and Friends,” produced and starred in the CBS sitcom “Carol’s Second Act,” starred in ABC’s “The Middle,” graduated four sons from college and more since turning 50.
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Several other women chimed in with their accomplishments including Jody Vance, who launched a weekly talk show “Steele and Vance” with Lynda Steele. “Our audience celebrates our decades of journalism and life experience. We are in our PRIME,” Vance wrote.
Susan Peters boasted about her PBS cooking show “The Family Dinner Table,” “which features handed down family recipes & talks about important things that only happen around the family dinner table.”
“Senior staff for successful Governor and Senate races and setting up offices, started a podcast, restarted my media career,” Martha Zoller added to the conversation. “Chaired a charitable organization. And helped with 6 grandchildren, 4 children’s weddings … and more.”
Lemon’s remarks about a women’s “prime” were spurred Thursday as he and his co-hosts discussed Haley’s comments during her presidential campaign announcement that called for “mandatory mental competency tests for politicians over 75 years old.” The Republican, 51, launched her bid at a rally Wednesday in Charleston, S.C.
Speaking to co-hosts Poppy Harlow and Kaitlan Collins, Lemon said Haley’s “talk about age” makes him uncomfortable and said her comments were the “wrong road” to go down, adding that Haley “is not in her prime.”
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“She says people, politicians are not in their prime,” he said. “Nikki Haley is not in her prime, sorry. A woman is considered to be in her prime in her 20s, 30s and maybe her 40s.”
His co-host Harlow asked him to clarify what he meant by “prime” and if he was referring to “prime for childbearing” or “prime for being president.”
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Lemon responded: “If you Google, ‘when is a woman in her prime,’ it’ll say 20s, 30s, and 40s. … I’m not saying I agree with that, so I think she has to be careful about saying that” politicians aren’t in their prime.
Thursday afternoon, Lemon apologized on Twitter for his on-air comments.
“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,” Lemon wrote. “A woman’s age doesn’t define her either personally or professionally. I have countless women in my life who prove that every day.”