A man is suing Don Lemon, claiming the CNN host attacked him at a Hamptons bar last summer. The suit, obtained by Mediaite, was filed Sunday and seeks unspecified damages for “emotional pain and suffering.”
“The plaintiff in this lawsuit has previously displayed a pattern of contempt for CNN on his social media accounts,” a CNN spokesperson told Mediaite 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.”
Dustin Hice claims that Lemon attacked him at Sag Harbor dive bar Murf’s in July 2018. Hice, who was working as a bartender at another Hamptons watering hole at the time, said he approached Lemon at the bar one night after recognizing him. Hice “tried to get Mr. Lemon’s attention and offered to buy Mr. Lemon a drink,” the suit claims. The CNN host declined, stating he was “just trying to have a good time.”
Later in the night, the suit says, Lemon approached Hice.
“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 says.
Hice said Lemon repeatedly shoved his fingers in his face and asked, “Do you like pussy or dick?” Hice claims he left the bar “shocked and humiliated.”
As for CNN’s claim that Hice’s social media accounts displayed contempt for the network, a Twitter account under the name Dustin Hice has been deleted. An Instagram post from January 2017 purportedly posted by Hice — and obtained by Mediaite — showed him posing in front of CNN’s headquarters in Atlanta along with the caption: “touring the #CNN center today…or as #Trump would say ‘the home of Fake News’ lol.”
In a statement to Mediaite, Hice’s attorney pushed back on CNN’s claims about Hice’s social media posts:
“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.”
A source close to Lemon told Mediaite that Hice demanded $1.5 million from the CNN host in exchange for not filing the suit. Lemon refused, the source said, claiming he had done nothing wrong.
The alleged attack, the suit claims, left Hice with “feelings of shame, humiliation, anxiety, anger, and guilt,” and affected his work in the Hamptons. He said word of the alleged attack spread around the area, and led to locals humiliating him at the bar he worked at. Hice, who is represented by New York law firm Nesenoff & Miltenberg, is seeking unspecified damages for emotional pain and loss of earnings.
This story has been updated.
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