Scandal-scarred former CNN anchor Don Lemon played the victim Wednesday, claiming at the Time 100 Gala in New York that he is a “survivor” after being ousted from his high-paying job at the news network.
The controversial ex-anchor of “CNN This Morning” was fired Monday just weeks after a damning report alleged years of “diva-like” and misogynistic behavior.
“There are lots of things that come your way that are unexpected, but I’m a survivor,” Lemon, 57, told ExtraWednesday night on the red carpet.
The Baton Rouge native reportedly made $7 million a year at the network. He’s expected to walk away with a $25 million payout.
Lemon — who also sparked outrage in February when he described 51-year-old Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley as not “in her prime” — also insisted he had “no regrets.”
“I live my life with no regrets and whatever I did, I did, I owned,” he told Extra. “I don’t look back and don’t want to change things in the past … Onward.”
He then boasted about having the luxury of taking time off despite the sudden and unceremonial axing.
“I’m gonna spend my summer on the beach and on the boat, and with my family,” Lemon added, likely referring to his fiancé, real estate agent Tim Malone.
“Just chill out and then I’ll see what happens next, but I’m fortunate enough to be in a position where I can do that.”
Meanwhile, the embattled TV personality narrowly avoided an embarrassing run-in with his former co-anchor Poppy Harlow, 50, and his former boss Chris Licht, 51, at the Time 100 event.
Event organizers — who hadn’t expected Lemon to show up — scrambled to have him, Licht and Harlow seated at separate tables for the dinner.
One insider said, “Of course, Don was invited but nobody actually expected him to come tonight. We hope there won’t be any awkward moments.”
Licht appeared a little rattled once Lemon arrived, but was seated with Harlow, who left the event early to be up to anchor “CNN This Morning.”
Lemon and Malone sat a few tables away with prominent attorney Ben Crump.
Licht told The Post it was business as usual at the network following the drama and denied some media speculation that Lemon’s firing and Tucker Carlson’s departure at Fox were deliberately set for the same time Monday morning.
“I was as floored as everyone else,” he said.
Lemon also played the victim Monday when he broke the news of his unemployment in a tweet, in which he moaned that no one at CNN had the “decency” to tell him directly and hinted at “larger issues at play.”
The startling dismissal comes just weeks after a Variety report alleged a long history of sexist and unprofessional behavior.
The magazine reported Lemon had sent threatening text messages from an anonymous number to co-anchor Kyra Phillips in 2008 because he was furious that she was chosen to cover the aftermath of the US invasion of Iraq.
Monday marked the end of Lemon’s 17-year tenure at the left-leaning news channel, which is rumored to be pivoting to the center under its new leadership.
But the Brooklyn College graduate appears to have been in management’s crosshairs for a while.
In September, he was pulled from his primetime slot and moved to the morning show, where the Haley brouhaha took place.
At the time, he characterized the shift as a promotion.
“I was not demoted. None of that. This is an opportunity,” he said.