Don Lemon found himself in an unusual position while defending rival Tucker Carlson over the “Montana Man” confrontation that occurred while the Fox News host shopped for fishing equipment. That’s quite a set of words there, so let’s back up. In the recent past, Tucker has acquired the reputation of encouraging harassment of outdoors mask wearers by his viewership. He also freaked out over what he called Don Lemon’s “white supremacist QAnon cookie jar.” During that episode, he drew unwanted attention to Don Lemon’s home while claiming that Lemon actually doesn’t care about diversity because he lives in a community that “is just 3% African-American.” As a result (and as Lemon revealed on air during his Monday night CNN broadcast), Lemon’s home was surrounded by paparazzi.
That made the issue of Montana Man (real name Dan Bailey, who was a fellow customer and not affiliated with the Dan Bailey’s Outdoor Co. shop where this confrontation occurred) difficult for Lemon to wrap his head around, after Bailey confronted Tucker and called him “the worst human being known to mankind.” Lemon admitted to having “mixed emotions” on this issue, but he still defended Tucker’s right to shop in an outdoors store (or anywhere) with his family without being confronted:
“I don’t like it. I don’t like it when people do that because I would not want it to happen to me. But I have mixed emotions because Tucker has done this to people before… Tucker said some really nasty and silly things about me, and the next day there were paparazzi in front of my house, hiding, taking pictures… I don’t want it to happen to anyone, I don’t want it to happen to Tucker, but when you do things like that, I don’t know.”
Ana Navarro felt differently and made it clear that she felt no sympathy for Tucker. She pointed out that Dan Bailey was actually pretty calm and collected, considering how upset he was about Tucker sending out dangerous vaccine-misinformation to the Fox News masses every night. Still, Lemon disagreed, saying that Tucker might act “completely reprehensible and divorced from reality,” yet he still felt that the Fox News host had a right to “not be ambushed” in public. Meanwhile, social media is still a fan of Montana Man saying what a lot of people feel about Tucker Carlson.
UPDATE — 1:30pm EST: A previous version of this story incorrectly labeled Dan Bailey as the owner of the fly-fishing shop where this confrontation occurred. We regret the error, and here’s a statement from a Dan Bailey’s Outdoor Co. representative:
On July 23rd, a well-known television personality, Tucker Carlson, was affronted in Dan Bailey’s Outdoor Co. Coincidentally, the person engaging Mr. Carlson was a local resident named Dan Bailey. This person has no affiliation with our business, other than he shares the same name as our founder, who passed away in 1982. He is not employed by, and has never been employed by, Dan Bailey’s Outdoor Co. To be clear, we treat every customer equally and respectfully. Our staff was professional and cordial to Mr. Carlson, as we are with all our customers.