Award-winning CNN news anchor Don Lemon has spent over two decades reporting on controversial headlines and now, thanks to a sexual harassment lawsuit, he has become one.
As has been widely reported, Dustin Hice – a bartender from the Hamptons – alleges he approached the television personality to buy him a drink. After Lemon, who is engaged to longtime partner Tim Malone, declined the advance he (according to Hice) later approached the bartender in a shocking exchange. An exchange, Hice asserts, that saw the 53-year-old “put his hand down the front of his own shorts, vigorously rubbed his genitalia, remove his hand and shoved his index and middle fingers in the Plaintiff’s moustache and under Plaintiff’s nose.”
Yikes! With the story making its rounds, CNN’s clapping back on behalf of their anchor. More inside:
George Gounelas, Hice’s former boss, claims to have seen the encounter and corroborated the following statement:
“’Do you like pussy or dick?’,” Hice claims Lemon asked as he rubbed his fingers on his face. “And he kept saying, ‘P or D? P or D?’ He said it three or four times. I’m like, ‘Whoa man, what the hell?’”
The testimony above made its way to the desk of CNN, who responded with:
“The plaintiff in this lawsuit has previously displayed a pattern of contempt for CNN on his social media accounts,” a CNN spokesperson told Mediaite. “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.”
Hice’s attorney, Andrew Miltenberg, hit back on behalf of his client:
“The assertion that Mr. Hice would put himself through the painful process of filing a sexual assault lawsuit against his attacker all because he doesn’t like a cable TV station is ludicrous. Rather, he took down his social media accounts on the day he filed the lawsuit against Don Lemon because he’s a private citizen and wants to protect himself from CNN’s heavy-handed tactics.
It’s shameful that the CNN attack machine is resorting to victim-blaming in order to detract from Mr. Lemon’s gross sexual misconduct.”
While the damages sought from the 2018 encounter are unspecified at the time of this report, word has it Hice moved forward with the suit after demanding $1.5M from Lemon – a request that was denied.