“CNN This Morning” host Don Lemon appeared disappointed with late night host Stephen Colbert’s recent jab at his wardrobe Friday.
On “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” the comedian insulted the hoodie and suit jacket combination that Lemon wore Thursday on CNN.
“I believe a great man once said, ‘What the f— is that?'” Colbert said while showing an image of Lemon in the getup. “I know they want to add some comedy to CNN, and this is hilarious, but how do you report the news in that outfit? How do you actually talk about tragedy wearing that, because what could be more tragic than that look he had this morning.”
Colbert went on, “He’s like a high school track teacher who went for a run and then got a little hungry and stopped at a restaurant, but it was too nice of a restaurant, and they said, ‘Sir, you have to wear a jacket.'”
Lemon and his co-host Kaitlan Collins discussed the Colbert clip the following day.
“I didn’t expect that reaction. For me, it was sort of like a Rorschach test about wearing that outfit,” Lemon responded and defended the outfit as a “sweater that had a hood on it,” rather than a sweatshirt.
The liberal news host seemed shaken as he reacted to Colbert, “I don’t know if I want to get into it because I was actually really surprised by it.”
He tried to explain his wardrobe choices, saying he was going for a more relaxed, comfortable look for the morning show and fashion has changed with the pandemic. He then compared himself to other political figures who have worn controversial outfits or hoodies.
“I think if Barack Obama can get criticized for a tan suit, if Volodymyr Zelensky can fight a war in a hoodie, if Trayvon Martin can start a revolution in a hoodie, then Don Lemon can tell the news in a hooded sweater,” Lemon said.
“I think John Fetterman wears a hoodie on Capitol Hill,” Collins replied.
“If John Fetterman can become a senator in a hoodie, then Don Lemon can tell the news in a hoodie,” Lemon added.
Collins continued, asking whether Lemon will wear the hoodie again after this incident.
“Of course,” Lemon replied.
He added, addressing Collins, “I just want to say that a lot has changed. I understand more how you feel when women talk about [how] they talk about women’s skirts and women’s outfits and their hair and their makeup or whatever. Women get scrutinized. Men never get scrutinized.”
Lemon’s more casual wardrobe choices emerged after he moved from his evening show “Don Lemon Tonight” to the morning back in September. While many saw this as a demotion from the once-primetime host, Lemon defensively insisted that the move was not a “step down” for him.