For a network quick to react with self-righteous indignation to the behavior of others, CNN is not having a very good week.
First, the nation sees anchor Chris Cuomo go berserk over being called “Fredo,” going so far as to claim it was an “ethnic slur” on the same scale as the n-word, dropping a string of F-bombs along the way trying to sound like a tough guy.
Then, a lawsuit against colleague Don Lemon comes to light, where a man claims the CNN anchor inflicted “emotional pain and suffering” after fondling himself and then shoving that hand under the man’s nose, the New York Post reported.
In effect, an alleged sexual assault.
Dustin Hice filed the lawsuit claiming that after spotting Lemon last summer at Murf’s Backstreet Tavern in Sag Harbor, a village in Long Island, N.Y., he offered to buy him a drink, prompting a sour Lemon to attack him.
“I had had two beers, maybe three at the most,’’ Hice recalled, according to the New York Post. “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.”
Dustin Hice is the plaintiff in the lawsuit. This was his social media account before he deleted it earlier today. pic.twitter.com/yNVYHdyIwP
— Matthew Keys (@MatthewKeysLive) August 13, 2019
“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.
Stating that he is a heterosexual, Hice was clear that he “absolutely wasn’t hitting on” Lemon, a married homosexual.
After going on about his business, Hice claimed that Lemon soon approached him.
“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 said, according to the lawsuit. “He rubs himself aggressively, his penis and whatever else down there.”
After pulling his hand out of his shorts, Lemon then allegedly “shoved his index and middle fingers in Plaintiff’s mustache and under Plaintiff’s nose.’”
“And he goes, ‘Do you like p*ssy or d*ck?’ And he kept saying, ‘P*ssy or d*ck? P*ssy or d*ck?’ He said it three or four times. I’m like, ‘Whoa man, what the hell?'” claimed Hice.
Saying he was so traumatized that he had to leave the bar, Hice said that when he returned a few minutes later, the CNN anchor was gone.
Hice alleged that “people all across town knew” of the incident, saying it followed him to his job as a bartender, infuriating and humiliating him.
“It spread like wildfire,” he told the Post. “And I had people coming in that week and ordering Lemon Drops and being like, ‘Give me two.'”
CNN responded in a statement saying that Hice had a history of showing “contempt” for the network online and that he had tried to cut a deal for money before filing the lawsuit.
“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,” the statement said. “Don categorically denies these claims and this matter does not merit any further comment at this time.”
Hice denied CNN’s claim about attacking the network on social media, “I have never ever ranted about anyone, especially a news station. … I am a private, religious man.’”
As for the talk of money, the Post cited a Hice source, who claimed Lemon’s side had offered a financial settlement in “six figures,” but the deal never came together — this was countered by a Lemon source, who claimed Hice’s side demanded $1.5 million in exchange for not filing the suit.
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