While many public figures have cited a desire to maintain a sense of privacy as a reason for not coming out, openly gay CNN anchor Don Lemon isn’t one of them
In the wake of Good Morning America co-host Robin Roberts confirming that she is in a lesbian relationship on Sunday, the award-winning American reporter and news anchor has spoken out about the importance of celebrities coming out.
He also commented on Phil Robertson, the star of the popular TV realities series Duck Dynasty, who was recently in the news for having made homophobic comments in GQ magazine
“I can’t speak for Robin Roberts, nor any of my recently out gay colleagues, I didn’t do it sooner because I was afraid of losing my livelihood,” Lemon admitted on CNN on Monday.
“I was afraid that you would no longer watch me. I was afraid of people like Phil Robertson, who claim to love everyone while simultaneously thinking that everyone’s love isn’t equal; the people who use religion and scripture to shield bigotry now toward gays and in the past toward women and African-Americans,” he said.
“Hopefully for Robin, like me, empowerment quickly replaced fear once I did come out. And if people like Phil Robertson are deserving of keeping their platforms and are even defended and celebrated, then people like Don Lemon, or Thomas Roberts, or Rachel Maddow, or Sam Champion, or Anderson Cooper, or Robin Roberts are also deserving of their platforms and should be celebrated as well. That’s why it’s still important to come out and say very simply, ‘I’m gay.’”
The 47-year-old television newsman came out as gay in 2011. He joined CNN in 2006 and is best known as the host of the prime-time weekend edition of CNN Newsroom. In 2009, Lemon was voted one of the 150 most influential African-Americans by Ebony magazine.