CNN’s Don Lemon who once said “The biggest threat to America is the white male,” is being sued for an alleged assault in a Long Island, New York, bar July 2018.
Dustin Hice is suing Lemon, a CNN host, and seeking an unspecified amount for “emotional pain and suffering,” according to the lawsuit, Mediaite reported. Nice alleges Lemon attacked him in July 2018 at a New York bar. The lawsuit reads that Lemon “rubbed his genitalia” and then shoved his fingers in Hice’s face.
“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 moustache and under Plaintiff’s nose,” the suit reads.
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 allegedly asked Hice if he liked “pussy or dick” after shoving his fingers into Hice’s face repeatedly.
Hice first asked Lemon for $1.5 million in order to drop the lawsuit, a source close to Lemon said, according to Mediaite. Lemon did not agree and said he had done nothing wrong.
The accuser was left with “feelings of shame, humiliation, anxiety, anger, and guilty,” the lawsuit reads. The alleged attack also affected Hice’s work, and he said word spread in the area and he was humiliated.
“The plaintiff in this lawsuit has previously displayed a pattern of contempt for CNN on his social media accounts,” a CNN spokesperson said 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.”
In the suit, Hice also said Lemon’s off-screen demeanor was in stark contrast to the “Me Too” advocate who he often saw on TV.
“When the cameras are turned off, however, Mr. Lemon’s actions are in stark and disturbing contrast to the public persona he attempts to convey,” the suit reads.
A Twitter account that is believed to belong to Hice has been deleted. An Instagram post from 2017 shows a person believed to be Hice posing in front of CNN’s headquarters with a caption that includes “the home of Fake News,” according to Mediaite.
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.”
CNN did not immediately respond to a request for comment.