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Elon Musk abruptly cancels ‘Don Lemon Show’ on X hours after taping interview for debut episode

Elon Musk and Don Lemon
Elon Musk and Don Lemon

Don Lemon was fired again — even before the debut of his new show on X.

Elon Musk abruptly canceled “The Don Lemon Show” hours after sitting down for an interview with the canned CNN anchor that was supposed to serve as his premiere episode on the platform, Lemon said Wednesday.

Lemon had taped the sit-down with the billionaire owner of X, SpaceX and Tesla on Friday.

“Elon Musk has canceled the partnership I had with X,” Lemon said in a statement posted to the social media site.

Don Lemon had taped the sit-down with the billionaire owner of X, SpaceX and Tesla on Friday. instagram/donlemonofficial
Don Lemon had taped the sit-down with the billionaire owner of X, SpaceX and Tesla on Friday. instagram/donlemonofficial

“There were no restrictions on the interview that he willingly agreed to, and my questions were respectful and wide ranging, covering everything from SpaceX to the presidential election. We had a good conversation. Clearly, he felt differently.”

Musk shot back hours later after touring a Tesla plant in Germany.

“His approach was basically just ‘CNN, but on social media,’ which doesn’t work, as evidenced by the fact that CNN is dying,” Musk posted on X.

Elon Musk has abruptly canceled Don Lemon’s new streaming show on the X social media platform. FilmMagic
Elon Musk has abruptly canceled Don Lemon’s new streaming show on the X social media platform. FilmMagic

“And, instead of it being the real Don Lemon, it was really just Jeff Zucker talking through Don, so lacked authenticity. All this said, Lemon/Zucker are of course welcome to build their viewership on this platform along with everyone else.”

A source with knowledge of the hour-and-a-half-long interview also noted that Lemon seemed lost without former CNN boss Zucker’s guidance.

“He was unpolished. He didn’t have producers in his ear. Jeff Zucker used to be in his ear and he would repeat back everything he was told,” the source told The Post.

Lemon conducted the interview with a barebones staff that included his fiance — not the big team the former anchor had at CNN, the source added.

“Don was underwhelming, unprepared and dull,” the source said, noting that Lemon didn’t ask any edgy or interesting questions.

“He didn’t ask Musk about (ex-girlfriend) Amber Heard. Elon probably would have liked it.”

Musk, the CEO of Tesla and owner of X, abruptly canceled the social media platform’s partnership with Lemon. AFP via Getty Images
Musk, the CEO of Tesla and owner of X, abruptly canceled the social media platform’s partnership with Lemon. AFP via Getty Images

Lemon’s questions covered touchy topics that included Musk’s drug use and the various lawsuits against the mogul and that he has lodged, Deadline reported.

Musk had recruited Lemon in January as part of an effort to attract more left-leaning voices to the site. He was slated to tape three, 30-minute episodes a week before the apparent rift.

Terms of the their deal were not disclosed but Musk’s sudden about-face could leave him on the hook for millions of dollars against the litigious Lemon, according to Deadline. Lemon also reportedly squeezed CNN for a $24.5 million payout over his termination.

In his statement, Lemon accused Musk of reneging on his commitment to free speech and to “amplifying more diverse voices on their platform.”

Lemon said that Musk gave him his “full support” and that he “took Elon and his management team’s word that they…were interested in working directly with new and diverse voices.”

Musk wanted Lemon to ask him about his prior relationship with actress Amber Heard. The two are photographed in 2017. Instagram
Musk wanted Lemon to ask him about his prior relationship with actress Amber Heard. The two are photographed in 2017. Instagram

“His commitment to a global town square where all questions can be asked and all ideas can be shared seems not to include questions of him from people like me,” Lemon said in his statement.

The first episode was scheduled to stream on X on Monday. Lemon said it will still air on YouTube.

A post by X’s business account said: “X is a platform that champions free speech, and we’re proud to provide an open environment for diverse voices and perspectives. The Don Lemon Show is welcome to publish its content on X, without censorship, as we believe in providing a platform for creators to scale their work. However, like any enterprise, we reserve the right to make decisions about our business partnerships, and after careful consideration, X decided not to enter into a commercial partnership with the show.”

In a separate video Lemon posted to X, he said: “I thought the first person [to] interview, no-brainer, Elon Musk, the man who calls himself a free speech absolutist. But apparently, free-speech absolutism doesn’t apply when it comes to questions about him from people like me.”

Musk’s alleged drug use was the subject of recent reports in The Wall Street Journal, which cited sources as saying that the he took acid, magic mushrooms and ketamine at social events.

Musk, 52, has reportedly been microdosing on ketamine to treat depression.

Lemon’s short-lived deal with X came just months after he was unceremoniously fired from his ratings-challenged morning show at CNN.

Lemon spent 17 years at the network, but Zucker’s successor, Chris Licht, reportedly soured on the anchor’s on-screen and off-screen behavior toward colleagues.

Last year, Lemon was put on hiatus after he said during a broadcast of “CNN This Morning” that Nikki Haley, who at the time was running for the GOP nomination for president, was “not in her prime” at age 51.

Lemon also had backstage run-ins with staffers and on-air talent, including co-anchor Kaitlan Collins, as The Post previously reported.