CNN primetime host Don Lemon was accused of a bizarre, sexually charged assault of a bartender in New York’s tony Hamptons last year in a civil suit filed earlier this week.
Dustin Hice, of Florida, stated in the lawsuit that he was living in the Hamptons and working at The Old Stove Pub in Sagaponack during the summer of 2018. On July 15, after closing, Hice claimed he left with the owner and co-workers to party at another bar, Murf’s Backstreet Tavern, in Sag Harbor, where they saw Lemon. Recognizing the newsman, Hice offered to buy him a vodka drink called a “lemon drop,” according to the suit. Lemon declined the offer, Hice claimed, but later approached him inside the establishment.
“[Lemon] put his hand down the front of his own shorts, and vigorously rubbed his genitalia, removed his hand and shoved his index and middle fingers into Plaintiff’s mustache and under Plaintiff’s nose,” according to the lawsuit, filed Aug. 11 in Suffolk County Court, and first reported by Mediaite.
CNN anchor Don Lemon has been accused in a lawsuit of assaulting a man in 2018. The network defended its host, saying the accusation was made by man who previously had been hostile toward the network. (Scott Olson/Getty Images, File)
Lemon allegedly asked a crude question about Hice’s sexual preference, leaving him “shocked and humiliated,” according to the suit.
CNN denied Hice’s account and said Hice seemed to bear animosity toward the cable news network.
“The plaintiff in this lawsuit has previously displayed a pattern of contempt for CNN on his social media accounts,” a CNN spokesperson told Fox News in a statement.
“This claim follows his unsuccessful threats and demands for an exorbitant amount of money from Don Lemon.
“Don categorically denies these claims and this matter does not merit any further comment at this time.”
“Mr. Lemon, who was wearing a pair of shorts, sandals, and a t-shirt, put his hand down the front of his own shorts, and vigorously rubbed his genitalia, removed his hand and shoved his index and middle fingers in Plaintiff’s mustache and under Plaintiff’s nose,” the suit allegedly stated.
Hice denied going after CNN on social media, telling the New York Post: “I have never ever ranted about anyone, especially a news station. … I am a private, religious man.”
Fox News’ Joseph A. Wulfsohn contributed to this report.