Don Lemon
"CNN Tonight" anchor Don Lemon held up a sign with the N-word during Monday night's broadcast. Pictured, Lemon attends "The 35 Most Powerful People In Media" celebrated by the Hollywood Reporter in New York, April 8, 2015. Reuters/Eduardo Munoz

Why, Don, why? In reaction to the controversy sparked by President Barack Obama saying the N-word during an appearance on Marc Maron's "WTF" podcast, anchor Don Lemon held up a sign with the same word during Monday night's broadcast of "CNN Tonight."

"Does this offend you, this word?" Lemon said with the sign in hand. "President Obama said it out loud in an interview, and a lot of people are shocked."

Lemon was trying to start a debate by comparing the racial epithet to the Confederate flag, whose continued use in parts of the country is considered offensive by many, especially in light of last week’s killing at a historic black church in Charleston, South Carolina.

"This is what America is talking about right now," Lemon said, raising up the flag at the beginning of the segment. "Does this offend you? It's a Confederate flag. Is it a symbol of Southern pride or a symbol of hate?"

Unfortunately for Lemon, the stunt did not go over well, and many took to Twitter to object.

Of course, because it's the Internet, the photoshopped parody tweets were not long in coming:

Lemon is often the source of controversy and Twitter-fueled derision. Last year, he publicly wondered if the missing Malaysia Air plane had flown into a black hole. In a highly criticized segment that aired in September, the "CNN Tonight" host attracted fierce blowback after posing the question "Is Islam more violent than any other faith?" to a panel that included Reza Aslan and Alisyn Camerota.

Here's a video of Monday's opening: