CNN host Don Lemon took a moment during his sign-off from Monday's "OutFront" to react to fellow news anchor Robin Roberts' decision to come out as gay, reflecting on why her action was important and on his own experience as an openly gay broadcaster.
Roberts, the anchor of ABC's "Good Morning America," came out over the weekend, thanking her "long time girlfriend" in a Facebook post in which she reflected on the year.
"I have been there," Lemon said. He recalled the fears he had when he came out to people close to him, and later when he came out publicly.
"I can't speak for Robin Roberts, nor any of my recently out gay colleagues -- I didn't do it sooner because I was afraid of losing my livelihood," he said. "I was afraid that you would no longer watch me."
Lemon said he hopes Roberts finds "empowerment," and discussed why her decision mattered so much. He pointed out that anti-gay television stars like "Duck Dynasty's" Phil Robertson aren't punished, and argued that openly gay news anchors -- from his CNN colleague Anderson Cooper to Rachel Maddow at MSNBC -- have every right to be seen and heard.
"[If] people like Phil Robertson are deserving of keeping their platforms and are even being defended and celebrated, then people like Don Lemon, or Thomas Roberts, or Rachel Maddow, or Sam Champion, or Anderson Cooper or Robin Roberts are also deserving of their platforms and should be celebrated, as well," he said. "That's why it's still important to come out and say very simply, 'I'm gay.'"