The internet is aflutter with the “Obama out” line President Barack Obama delivered at the 2016 White House Correspondents’ Dinner on Saturday night. As it should be, because it’s not every day one gets to see their leader perform a literal mic drop before a crowd consisting of the nation’s most powerful politicians, pundits and media personalities. However, a minor exchange between The Nightly Show host Larry Wilmore and CNN anchor Don Lemon has also grabbed the internet’s attention, and for good measure. It seems the latter wasn’t too fond of a joke for the former made at his expense.
As he roasted his way through some of the room’s more famous attendees, Wilmore took note of Lemon’s presence at the cavalcade of tables occupied by CNN personnel:
“I should say that some of America’s finest black journalists are here tonight. Don Lemon’s here, too. Hey Don! How’s it going? Alleged journalist Don Lemon, everybody.”
C-SPAN’s life feed quickly cut to Lemon, who affably waved to the crowd and laughed at Wilmore’s jests. He also offered the evening’s master of ceremonies a visual demonstration of his support — the all-too common heckler’s tool, the one-fingered salute.
Lemon’s finger drew a brief gasp from the audience, as well as a chuckle from Wilmore. The moment was quickly forgotten by those at the dinner as the comedian moved on to Al Sharpton and other famous African-American figures in the room. However, Variety and many other news outlets picked up on the bird with headlines stringing “Don Lemon,” “Larry Wilmore” and “finger” together in various combinations. So too did Twitter and YouTube — the latter including C-SPAN’s own official channel, as they didn’t censor the offending gesture.
Yet as with most minor “scandals,” Lemon’s response was nothing more than a friendly jab. The CNN anchor and others present at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner and the official after party posted photos of the two men together, reveling in their supposed hatred for one another.
If anything, perhaps Lemon’s latest internet kerfuffle will inspire another “Calm Down” segment for Wilmore’s Nightly Show. He is, after all, the man who informed its first instance when he dropped his literal race card for a segment about the N-word last summer.