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Elon Musk has abruptly withdrawn from a deal to exclusively host journalist Don Lemon’s new talk show on X (formerly Twitter), shortly after he interviewed the billionaire last Friday, the former CNN anchor has said.

In a statement on Wednesday, Lemon explained that the deal was part of X’s public commitment to “amplifying more diverse voices on their platform” and that Musk had encouraged him to join X with a new talk show and promised to support the project.

However, several hours after filming an interview with Musk on Friday, which Lemon described as a “good conversation,” the billionaire allegedly messaged the former host, informing him that the partnership contract with the Don Lemon Show had been terminated without explaining the reasons.

“His commitment to a global town square where all questions can be asked and all ideas can be shared seems not to include questions of him from people like me,” Lemon suggested, adding that there were no restrictions on the interview that Musk had agreed to, and insisted that his questions were “respectful and wide ranging.”

Musk has since confirmed the deal was scuttled, but pointed out that Lemon would still be free to upload his show, monetize it, and build his viewership on the platform “along with everyone else.”

“What we aren’t going to do is guarantee minimum payments to him, as he was demanding, which would be going beyond everyone else,” Musk explained.

As for the reason for the sudden termination, the billionaire stated that Lemon’s approach to the interview was “basically just ‘CNN, but on social media,’ which doesn’t work, as evidenced by the fact that CNN is dying.”

“Instead of it being the real Don Lemon, it was really just Jeff Zucker talking through Don, so lacked authenticity,” Musk wrote, referring to the former president of the media company where Lemon worked until last year.

In several snippets of the interview that have been published ahead of the full premiere on Monday, Lemon asked the billionaire a series of questions about content moderation, hate speech, conspiracy theories, as well as his political leanings and attitude towards former US President Donald Trump.

The visibly frustrated Musk stated at one point in the interview that “he doesn’t have to answer these questions” and told Lemon that “the only reason I’m doing this interview is because you’re on the X platform and you asked for it.”

“Otherwise I would not be doing this interview,” Musk said.

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