CNN’s Don Lemon was happy to hear the news today that evening host Anderson Cooper has finally publicly stated what many people long suspected: he’s gay.
What prompted Cooper? An Entertainment Weekly cover story about how famous folks come out now vs. a few years ago.
“It’s kind of a yawn” as defined as news, said Lemon in a phone interview today. But Lemon, a CNN anchor and reporter based out of Atlanta, came out a year ago and has zero regrets.
“It helps me so much personally. Whatever negatives it may have on my career has been far supplanted by what personal autonomy I’ve gained and confidence it has built. I think anytime you’re true to yourself and open up, it can only help you.”
Lemon said he and Cooper are not friends but friendly colleagues. “Everyone knew it was an open secret,” Lemon said. “Kudos to him. I think we should all be positive and happy for him. Even though he’s reached a degree of professional success not many people ever reach, I still think it’s going to be great for him and help him be an even better person and journalist like it did for me.”
Lemon said he’s in New York City right now and in the past might have been consumed about the local gay scene and his place in it. Now, he said, “it never even crosses my mind.”
He said he can now make references to his sexual orientation on air and nobody blinks an eye. This past Saturday, a woman was talking about a study on shoes and how they match up to your personality. Facetiously, Lemon said he took his shoe off and asked her what his personality is. “They say you’re gay,” she said jokingly.
“Everyone in the newsroom cracked up,” Lemon said. “A couple of folks on Twitter commented about it. Then we just moved on. A few years ago, people might have created a fuss. Now it’s no big deal. The world keeps moving.”
The Daily Beast blogger Andrew Sullivan, another openly gay newsman, wrote to Cooper asking for his reaction to the Entertainment Weekly story and published the response on his blog, The Dish, on Monday morning.
“The fact is, I’m gay, always have been, always will be, and I couldn’t be any more happy, comfortable with myself, and proud.”
His rationale for hiding it: “I’ve always believed that who a reporter votes for, what religion they are, who they love, should not be something they have to discuss publicly.”
By Rodney Ho, Radio & TV Talk