CNN’s Don Lemon Sued by Bartender After Alleged Assault
CNN’s Don Lemon is being sued for assault after he allegedly rubbed his genitalia with his fingers and then “shoved his index and middle fingers in the Plaintiff’s mustache and under the Plaintiff’s nose.” Lemon allegedly asked him repeatedly, “Do you like p-y or d-k?”
Lemon’s accuser is 38-year-old Dustin Hice, who worked as a bartender in July 2018 at The Old Stove Pub in Sagaponack. Hice was out with coworkers after work one evening at Murf’s Backstreet Tavern in Sag Harbor. That’s when Hice noticed the CNN anchor and offered to buy him a drink.
Hice told the New York Post, “I had had two beers, maybe three at the most. I said, ‘Hey, Don, let me buy you a drink.’ I turned to Nick the bartender and said, ‘Hey, Nick, let me get two [vodka] Lemon Drops’ and put two fingers in the air. 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.’ I said, ‘Oh, OK, sorry,’ and that was it,’’ Hice said.
Hice recounted, “I absolutely wasn’t hitting on him whatsoever. I’m a heterosexual male. About 5 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. He rubs himself aggressively, his penis, and whatever else down there.” According to the suit, the CNN host then “shoved his index and middle fingers in Plaintiff’s mustache and under Plaintiff’s nose.”
Hice claims the incident caused him emotional stress and caused him to lose future opportunities and earnings. Hice said he was humiliated,“I had to go into work the next day, and by then, people all across town knew it. It spread like wildfire. And I had people coming in that week and ordering Lemon Drops and being like, ‘Give me two.’”
In the lawsuit, the plaintiff described Lemon as “an Emmy Award winning news anchor … who among other things, purports to be a staunch advocate for the ‘Me Too’ movement.” Except “when the cameras are turned off … Mr. Lemon’s actions are in stark and disturbing contrast to the public persona he attempts to portray.”
Hice’s attorney, Andrew Miltenberg, explained, “Just because my client is a straight man doesn’t make this assault any more acceptable than if he were a woman. This lawsuit is sending a message loud and clear — if you are in a position of power, you cannot get away with sexual assault. No matter what the circumstances are.”
CNN’s statement about Hice’s suit: “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. Don categorically denies these claims, and this matter does not merit any further comment at this time.”
In a statement, Miltenberg fired back: “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. It’s shameful that the CNN attack machine is resorting to victim-blaming in order to detract from Mr. Lemon’s gross sexual misconduct.”
CNN anchors are not having a good week at all.