Is Don Lemon Leaving CNN? Host Says He's Going Nowhere Despite 'Toxicity' of Political Climate, Threats to Personal Safety

CNN host Don Lemon appeared to suggest at a journalism conference that America's toxic political climate means he could bow out of broadcasting ahead of the 2020 election.

But he later clarified on his show Thursday night that he is going nowhere, saying he has the best job in television and dismissed headlines that he would leave CNN as "hyperbolic."

Lemon, 53, has been a prime time CNN host since 2006. A gay African-American and outspoken critic of President Donald Trump, who he has called a racist, Lemon is a regular target of hate.

The president has also fired back at Lemon, calling him on Twitter "dumb as a rock," a "lightweight," and the "dumbest man on television."

"I was doing a shoot in the park the other day and someone shouted at me, 'I'm sick of watching you. We built this country. I can't wait for CNN to fire your black ass, you f*****,'" Lemon said on Thursday at the FT Future of News Summit in New York City, Deadline reported.

"So, all of those sorts of people call you on the phone and say those things, or they write you. I don't go on social media any more, it's so toxic."

When asked if he would remain on air despite everything, Lemon replied that he loves what he does, and is committed to journalism, but did not know if he could continue in his current job.

Lemon also raised concerns about his personal safety as a prominent TV journalist, and said those fears have "taken a toll," leaving him extra cautious even with fans.

"Everything catches up with you. I don't know if I can deal with this level of toxicity for so long," Lemon said.

According to Hollywood Reporter, Lemon also said one particular Trump supporter calls him 300 times a day, that he receives junk mail from critics who found his address, and that some even call authorities to make false accusations about him.

The journalist said the Trump era has put at risk "my privacy, my safety and security, and the safety and security of my loved ones and my family," The Daily Beast reported.

"I'm black and gay on cable television in prime time—a unicorn—and I'm a target of the right, a target of white extremists, neo-Nazis and of the president," Lemon said.

On his show last night, fellow CNN host Chris Cuomo raised with Lemon reports that he may soon leave the network. "I've got the best job in television," Lemon said.

"The headlines are hyperbolic and they don't really reflect the tone and the conversation that I had. Someone asked me a question about how tough it's been the last couple years with all of this alternative reality and the president attacking you and all that, and I gave a very honest answer, but I'm not going anywhere, knock on wood."

CNN did not respond immediately to Newsweek's request for comment.

CNN Don Lemon
Don Lemon attends the 30th Annual GLAAD Media Awards New York at New York Hilton Midtown on May 4, 2019 in New York City. Lemon told a conference that the toxicity of the Trump era left him questioning how long he could stay on air with CNN. Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for GLAAD