CNN anchor Don Lemon ripped the man who accosted Tucker Carlson in a Montana fly fishing shop, saying he had no right to invade the Fox News host’s “personal space.”
The liberal Lemon offered his surprising take during his CNN program “Don Lemon Tonight” Monday evening, when he devoted an entire segment to addressing the weekend encounter, which he said put him in a position “to maybe somehow have to defend Tucker Carlson.”
“Let me tell you this: I don’t like it. I don’t like it when people do that because I would not want it to happen to me,” Lemon began after showing a snippet of the video, going on to caution, “I have mixed emotions because Tucker has done this to people before. Tucker said some really nasty and silly things about me, and the next day there’s paparazzi in front of my house, hiding, taking pictures.”
Lemon continued: “We’re all on TV, we’ve been approached. We hear good things, we hear bad things from people. We don’t even know who they are, it’s part of the gig. Don’t you think this went a little too far, though?”
But CNN commentator Ana Navarro then defended the man who accosted Carlson, identified as Dan Bailey, saying she had been through similar experiences and that the Fox personality should be understanding given his sometimes heated rhetoric.
“Deal with it,” she suggested, noting these individuals’ First Amendment right to approach them.
“But I don’t think that should happen to you, Ana. I don’t think that should happen to [CNN star] Chris [Cuomo]. I don’t think it should happen to me,” Lemon replied, noting similar experiences his cable news colleagues have faced.
“Your First Amendment right doesn’t mean invading my personal space, I’m sorry, Ana, I understand what you’re saying and I get it. I think that what Tucker says much, much of the time is completely reprehensible and divorced from reality, but he has a right to be in a space and not be accosted and not be ambushed by anyone.”
“People yell all the time at me,” he added, referencing a visit to Cincinnati, Ohio, where he said that “there were Trump supporters out there yelling across whatever. They weren’t in my face. So if you want to stand across the street, fine.”
The brief video, taken over the weekend, showed a man confronting the “Tucker Carlson Tonight” host as he shopped for fishing gear with his family at Dan Bailey’s Outdoor Co. in Livingston, Mont., which said afterward that it was not affiliated with the man who confronted Carlson.
Bailey, who posted the footage Friday, accused Carlson in an accompanying post of “kill[ing]” people with vaccine misinformation and supporting “extreme racism.”
In the 22-second clip, Carlson can be heard politely responding to Bailey by saying, “I appreciate that” and then laughing when he realizes that he is being filmed.
“Settle down, son,” Carlson says, before he begins to walk away, as a stunned Bailey retorts, “Son? Don’t call me son” and follows.
As for how he deals with strangers approaching him, Lemon said: “My response is always, ‘Thank you, thank you for watching. I’m so glad. Thank you so much, I appreciate it. Thank you. Thank you,’ even if they say the worst things about me, because I really just want to defuse it and I want them to go away. “
“I know people have a right, I’m on TV. I get my point of view and I say my take all the time. And so I understand it is going to happen, but do I like it? No.”