Cable News Network (CNN) anchor Don Lemon is fighting a lawsuit claiming that he sexually harassed and assaulted a man at a Hamptons bar last summer. According to the lawsuit filed over the weekend, the alleged incident took place at a Sag Harbor, N.Y., bar in July 2018. The plaintiff, Dustin Hice, claims he recognized the CNN Tonight With Don Lemon anchor and offered to buy him a drink called the Lemon Drop. The newsman declined, telling Hice he was “just trying to have a good time.”
The lawsuit claims that later on, Lemon approached Hice and his friends and “put his hand down the front of his own shorts” and “vigorously rubbed his genitalia.” He then removed his hand and put his fingers under Hice’s nose. According to the claim, while doing it, Lemon “repeatedly asked” Hice, “Do you like p***y or d**k?” Hice, a bartender at another Hamptons establishment, alleged that Lemon acted with “aggression and hostility.” As a result, Hice said he was “shocked and humiliated” and ended up fleeing the bar.
The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages for “emotional pain and suffering.” A source close to Lemon said that prior to filing the lawsuit, Hice demanded $1.5 million in exchange for killing the lawsuit. The source said Lemon refused because he didn’t think he had done anything wrong.
In a statement released by a CNN spokesperson, “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.”
Hice’s lawyer from New York law firm Nesenoff & Miltenberg slammed CNN’s characterization 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.” As for CNN’s claims about Hice posting anti-CNN things on his Instagram he reportedly posted a photo after touring the CNN building in Atlanta and said that he was visiting “as #Trump would say ‘the home of Fake News’” the attorney said Hice ”took down his social media accounts on the day he filed the lawsuit” because “he’s a private citizen and wants to protect himself from CNN’s heavy-handed tactics.”