The accusations are among several included in a Variety piece on the longtime CNN personality, who earlier this year faced criticism for on-air remarks he made about Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley. Per Variety, the alleged texts were sent to Kyra Phillips from an unknown number in 2008, not long after she returned from the assignment. Lemon and Phillips, notably, were co-hosting the network’s Live From weekday slot at the time.
“Now you’ve crossed the line, and you’re going to pay for it,” one alleged text, later claimed to have been traced back to Lemon, read. Lemon is also alleged to have torn up photos and notes “on top of and inside” his co-anchor’s desk while she was in Iraq.
Elsewhere in the report, published Wednesday, Lemon is accused of “diva-like behavior.” Read it in full here.
Complex has reached out to reps for Lemon and CNN for comment. This story may be updated. In comments included in the original Variety piece, a CNN rep was quoted as stating that Lemon says the alleged Phillips incident “never occurred,” nor was he made aware of a reported investigation into the text messages. Meanwhile, a CNN rep was quoted in a separate Daily Beast piece as calling the report “riddled with patently false anecdotes.”
As for the Nikki Haley controversy, Lemon issued a statement on the matter via Twitter in February just before making his return to the network.
“I appreciate the opportunity to be back on [CNN’s This Morning] today,” he said at the time. “To my network, my colleagues, and our incredible audience—I’m sorry. I’ve heard you, I’m learning from you, and I’m committed to doing better.”