CNN’s Don Lemon directed viewers not to send him any more incendiary tweets over his coverage of Trayvon Martin’s death on Sunday.
Martin was unarmed when he was shot by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman in late February. His death and the local police department’s failure to arrest Zimmerman took the country by storm weeks later.
Speaking to analyst Goldie Taylor, Lemon said he and Taylor were among some of the first journalists covering the tragedy. They agreed that they were obligated to handle the story carefully and “encourage responsibility” from viewers.
Lemon turned to some of the inflammatory tweets he has received over his coverage of Martin. “Please don’t send me any more tweets that by having this conversation, I’m a racist or a race-baiter,” he said. “This is a conversation we all need to have, so relax on that.”
He called some of the responses “disgusting” and “ridiculous.” He read one tweet aloud: “Don Lemon, you are a racist. You are fixated on this one issue over and over. We want to hear the news, not your personal agenda. Go work for BET.”
“That was the nice one,” Lemon remarked. “He didn’t call me the n-word.”
Taylor said she has been met with similar responses for discussing the controversy. “I’ve been called the n word more, collectively, over the last 72 hours than I have my whole life,” she said. “It is amazing to me what people will say with the anonymity of a tweet.”
Lemon asked what happened.
“I was checking my Twitter,” she recalled. “And someone said, ‘I’ll shoot you,’ and my response was, ‘You better be a quicker draw.'”