Patricia Heaton fired back at Don Lemon after his controversial remarks about Republican U.S. presidential candidate Nikki Haley’s age,
The 56-year-old host said that 51-year-old Haley was past her “prime” and that “a woman is considered to be in their prime in 20s and 30s and maybe 40s” during a recent episode of “CNN This Morning.”
On Friday, Heaton, 64, responded to Lemon’s comments, which were widely considered sexist and ageist, with a fiery Twitter thread.
“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,” the actress began.
She continued, “I’ll start: – Produced the comedy feature Unexpected (available on iTunes/AmazonPrime) #primetime.”
“Wrote and published the book Your Second Act: Inspiring Stories of Reinvention (Simon and Schuster) #primetime.”
“Created the Emmy- winning show PatriciaHeaton Parties for@FoodNetwork #primetime.”
“Published the cookbook Food For Family and Friends (William Morrow Cookbooks) #primetime
“Produced and starred in the sitcom Carol’s Second Act for CBS. #primetime.”
“Founded@WorldVision Celebrity Ambassador program raising funds and awareness, while making trips to Zambia, Uganda, Rwanda, Jordan and Kenya. #primetime.”
“Read the Bible all the way through! #primetime.”
“Created Patricia Heaton Home table top line, now available at @ParkDesigns #primetime.”
“Starred in the @ABCNetwork hit show @TheMiddle_TV #primetime.”
“Took four sons on four college tours and saw them graduate. #primetime.”
“Starred with Tony Shalhoub, the late great Chris Welch and @TheRealAnnaCamp in The Scene by @TheresaRebeck at @2STNYC.”
“Produced and starred in Mom’s Night Out @MNOmovie with @sarahdrew for @AFFIRMFilms #primetime.”
The “Everyone Loves Raymond” alum’s Twitter thread was commended by many of her followers, some of whom began chiming in with their own achievements over the age of 50.
Lemon made the remarks on the Thursday episode of “CNN This Morning” in response to Haley calling for politicians over 75 years old to undergo annual mental competency tests. Lemon said he was “uncomfortable” with age discussions, saying Haley “isn’t in her prime, sorry.”
“A woman is considered to be in their prime in 20s and 30s and maybe 40s,” he said, as co-host Poppy Harlow remarked sharply, “Prime for what?” Put on the defensive, Lemon told Harlow, 40, and his viewers to “Google it” and not to “shoot the messenger.” Also flanking Lemon was his 30-year-old co-host Kaitlan Collins.
“I’m just saying what the facts are. Google it. Everybody at home, when is a woman in her prime, it says 20s, 30s and 40s,” he said. “And I’m just saying Nikki Haley should be careful about saying that politicians are not in their prime, and they need to be in their prime when they serve. Because she wouldn’t be in her prime according to Google or whatever it is.”
Harlow walked off the set following her on-air exchange with Lemon, sources told the New York Post.
Lemon apologized on Twitter later in the day, although he notably didn’t mention Haley by name.
“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. A woman’s age doesn’t define her either personally or professionally. I have countless women in my life who prove that every day,” he wrote.
In response, Haley mocked the TV host, writing “To be clear, I am NOT calling for competency tests for sexist middle-aged CNN anchors; only for people who make our laws and are 75+.”
On Friday, Lemon issued an apology to his colleagues during the network’s morning editorial call.
“I’m sorry I don’t mean to hurt anyone. I did not mean to offend anyone,” Lemon said, Fox News Digital confirmed. “What I said came out wrong, and I wish I hadn’t said it. I believe women of any age can do anything they set their minds to. The people I am closest to in this organization are women.”
“When I make a mistake. I own it and I own this one as well. I understand why you are upset and disappointed,” Lemon continued. “I was trying to make the point that no one’s age should define their ambition or potential for success, and I was saying those comments to Nikki Haley.”
A source close to “CNN This Morning” blasted Lemon’s editorial call comments as an “all-about-me failed apology attempt.”