WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- CNN anchor Don Lemon was handed a lawsuit claiming that he groped himself then attacked the complainant, a Long Island former bartender in 2018.
- Dustin Hice told the New York Post that after Lemon declined Hice’s offer for a drink, shortly after, Lemon attacked him by shoving his fingers into his face.
- In response, CNN said the lawsuit was filed by Hice after Lemon refused his demands for a large sum of money.
CNN host Don Lemon is being sued by a Long Island former bartender over an incident that took place in 2018 where Lemon was said to have touched himself and assaulted the man, reports the New York Post.
According to the lawsuit, on June 2018, Dustin Hice and his colleagues went out for drinks after he finished his bartending shift at the Old Stove Pub in Sagaponack. Reportedly, they went to Sag Harbor’s Murf’s Backstreet Tavern where they chanced upon Lemon.
Initially, Hice said as a friendly gesture, he offered to get a drink for Lemon, but, the host declined the offer.
“Don was sitting with two or three other people, and he looks at me and goes, ‘I’m just trying to have a good time, man,'” Hice told The Post. “I said, ‘Oh, OK, sorry,’ and that was it.”
However, things reportedly took an unexpected turn shortly after the first encounter.
Hice said, “About five or 10 minutes later, Don gets up, walks around the bar, comes up right up to me and puts his hands down his board shorts and rubs himself aggressively, his penis and whatever else down there.”
Then Hice continued, saying that the CNN anchor allegedly thrust his index and middle fingers in “Plaintiff’s mustache and under Plaintiff’s nose,” as noted in the lawsuit.
“Then he goes, ‘Do you like p**** or d***?’ And he kept saying, ‘P or D? P or D?’ three or four times,” Hice recalled. “I’m like, ‘Whoa man, what the hell?'”
The bartender claimed that people all over town have mocked him once they’ve heard what happened. As a result, he stated in his complaint that he suffered from “severe emotional stress and loss of future earnings and opportunities.”
In response, CNN stood by its anchor.
A statement issued from Lemon’s employer stated: “The plaintiff in this lawsuit has previously displayed a pattern of contempt for CNN on his social media accounts. This claim follows his unsuccessful threats and demands for an exorbitant amount of money from Don Lemon.”
Originally, the plaintiff demanded $1.5 million from Lemon in exchange for not filing the suit, but the network anchor turned him down, said a source close to Lemon.
The lawsuit news comes a day after another CNN host, Chris Cuomo, became involved in a controversy for a viral rant he addressed to a man who called him “Fredo”-a name that is a slur for Italians.