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CNN's Don Lemon to Long supporters: 'I was the childhood victim of a pedophile'


Let me tell you what got my attention about this and I have never admitted this on television. I’m a victim of a pedophile when I was a kid. Someone who was much older than me.

— CNN anchor Don Lemon, during a segment on alleged sex predator “Bishop” Eddie Long, 9/25/2010

Consider how difficult this had to be for Don Lemon. I can’t imagine what ran through his mind as he built up to the moment of disclosure of this painful part of his life on live international television.

CNN anchor Don Lemon made a very personal admission in the most public of ways – during his live newscast. Lemon was discussing the sexual abuse cases against Bishop Eddie Long with three members of Long’s church who continue to support him.

Lemon had just played a soundbite from the lawyer of one of Long’s accusers about how the bishop allegedly got close to one of the young men in his church.

…Lemon’s admission led to an audible gasp from one of his guests. “I’ve never admitted that on television and I never told my mom until I was 30 years old,” Lemon said later in the segment. “Especially African-American men don’t want to talk about those things.”

What I do know is that crossing the line from journalist to interested party had to be beyond difficult. Facing Long supporters had to push some seriously painful buttons. Weighing it all against the possible good it can do for those who suffered similar abuse out there is immeasurable. Lemon’s strength to share will help someone else muster up the courage to tell their story.

For me, “thank you” is too insignificant a thing to say in response to what Don Lemon did.


ALSO: I did want to address the statements of the three congregants. I pity them. They are 1) brainwashed by Long accepting him as a deity-type figure without flaws or capable of evil, and 2) devoid of any critical-thinking skills, which are part of what Long’s stagecraft is designed to do.

This is the problem of all churches that, by design and theology, place the pastor/priest above the flock, and worse, deserving of prosperity even when some workshippers are of little means. It’s a vile circumstance because at what point are the congregants engaging in cult behavior versus voluntary call to prayer and worship together? I challenge anyone to watch that “Cross It Up” video and say you don’t see cult-like mindless devotion behavior going on.

Yes, these are just allegations, but as Lemon pointed out, two of the young men don’t even know one another yet their stories describe very similar predator behaviors. Long’s followers seemed unfazed at this, even after Lemon disclosed his abuse. I’m sure they parroted what they felt they needed to say, but certainly I hope something resonated in them after the interview to open their minds to think for themselves.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding