Entertainment :: Culture

Out CNN Host Comments on Robin Roberts’ Coming Out

by Jason St. Amand
National News Editor
Tuesday Dec 31, 2013
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Don Lemon
Don Lemon  (Source:AP Photo)

Out CNN host Don Lemon reacted to news on Monday that anchor Robin Roberts came out as gay via Facebook, explaining why he believes its important for public figures to come out, the Huffington Post reports.

"I have been there," Lemon said on his show "OutFront." He then went on to discuss the fears he had when he came out to friends and family and then when he came out to the public.

"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," he said. "I was afraid that you would no longer watch me."

Lemon added he hopes Roberts feels "empowerment" for her decision, saying that it’s important for public figures to come out. He pointed to the drama surrounding "Duck Dynasty" star Phil Roberts, who came under fire this month for making anti-gay and offensive comments in an interview with GQ magazine. Lemon said Robertson, and other anti-gay stars, don’t get punished for the hurtful rhetoric they spew, arguing that openly gay news anchors like himself, Roberts, CNN’s Anderson Cooper and MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, have the right to be heard.

"[If] people like Phil Robertson are deserving of keeping their platforms and are even being 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," he said. "That’s why it’s still important to come out and say very simply, ’I’m gay.’ "

Though Lemon condemned Robertson when the reality star first started making waves, Lemon said A&E officials shouldn’t fire Robertson for his remarks.

"It’s offensive to me... but the marketplace should decide," he said on "Piers Morgan Live." Nevertheless, host Piers Morgan disagreed and said that he should be let go for his "absolutely repulsive" remarks.

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