How Much Would You Pay for a Date with Don Lemon?

By Gail Shister 

A date with CNN’s Don Lemon doesn’t come cheap.

Internet entrepreneur David Hauslaib bid $1,050 for the privilege Saturday at the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association auction, held on the final night of its 2011 national convention in Philadelphia.

Lemon, who came out publicly in May while promoting his new memoir, ‘Transparent,’ was a keynote speaker earlier in the day.


“When the auctioneer yelled, ‘Sold!,’ I said, ‘You can’t say ‘sold’ to a black man!,’” jokes Lemon, 45, CNN’s prime-time weekend anchor.

The auction “was a bit embarrassing, but flattering,” he adds. “Everyone knows I have a partner [CNN producer Ben Tinker, 26], but I’m happy to do it for the organization.” (Full disclosure: I am a long-time member of NLGJA and was inducted to its Hall of Fame in 2008.)

Hauslaib also has a partner. After meeting for the first time at the auction, Hauslaib and Lemon became fast friends. They dined in Philadelphia’s ‘gayborhood’ with Lemon’s bud LZ Granderson of ESPN, also in town for the convention.

“The dinner didn’t count as a date,” Lemon says, chuckling. “We talked about whether we should

bring our boyfriends to the real date and have them sit at a different table.”

Lemon is based in Atlanta. Hauslaib lives in L.A. Their date is scheduled for early next month, when Lemon will be in L.A. for a photo shoot for Out magazine.

Says Hauslaib: “I’ll only feel like I got my money’s worth if he puts away both of his iPhones during the meal, like a gentleman.”

Meanwhile, Lemon and Tinker flew to Miami Monday for some r & r. Sunday, on his own time, Lemon did five live reports from Philadelphia on Hurricane Irene, (at left interviewing Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter).

On another note, NLGJA has been invited to join Unity, an alliance of Hispanic, Asian American and Native American journalists associations, NLGJA president David Steinberg announced Friday.

Unity voted against including NLGJA in 1994 and ’98. NABJ left the organization earlier this year in a dispute over revenue sharing. Unity holds joint conventions every four years; its next is in 2012 in Las Vegas.

Steinberg said numerous details must be worked out before any decisions are made.
He also wants feedback from NLGJA’s board as well as from the general membership.

Lemon, an NABJ member, purchased a lifetime membership to NLGJA at the convention. He says NLGJA should accept Unity’s olive branch.

“Why not? Hence, the name ‘Unity.’ I don’t know about the politics and intricacies, but in general, my message is about inclusion. We all need to practice what we preach.”