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A man who claims that CNN host Don Lemon sexually assaulted him provided details of the allegation in an interview Monday with podcaster and former Fox News star Megyn Kelly.
According to Dustin Hice, Lemon assaulted him in a bar in the Hamptons three years ago, going on to allege that the claimed behavior may even be part of a “pattern.”
Lemon’s attorneys have pushed back against Hice, who has filed a lawsuit, noting in court documents that the former bartender has withheld text messages, deleted social media posts, and is hiding one witness who could refute his claims against the CNN personality.
In his lawsuit, Hice accused Lemon, who is gay and married, of putting one of his hands down his own pants, massaging his private area, and then shoving his fingers into Hice’s face, the New York Post reported.
“Anybody that acts like that in public without any fear of what it might do to somebody or the consequences it might have, that’s a pattern,” Hice told Kelly after she asked him if the alleged act appeared to be something that Lemon had done before.
“I wouldn’t be surprised,” Hice noted further, adding: “He’s protected by the fact that he’s African American, gay man on television and I’m just some nobody.”
Hice went on to say that he is heterosexual.
The Post reported that Lemon’s attorney and CNN did not respond to requests for comment on Monday. However, in the past, a spokesperson for CNN described Hice as someone who does not like the network and is just looking to shakedown Lemon for money.
“The plaintiff in this lawsuit has previously displayed a pattern of contempt for CNN on his social media accounts,” the spokesperson told USA Today in 2019. “This claim follows his unsuccessful threats and demands for an exorbitant amount of money from Don Lemon.”
The Post added: “Attorneys for Lemon have outlined a lengthy discovery process in court filings that saw Hice allegedly admit to deleting numerous social media posts. Lemon’s legal team also said Hice indicated in texts to the key witness in the case that there could be a financial reward for testimony corroborating his story.”
However, that witness, who is a friend of Hice’s and was with him at the bar on the evening in question, reportedly stated in a deposition that he was not at all certain that Lemon engaged in any physical contact with Hice. Also, texts from a third witness that were uncovered during the discovery process showed Hice holding a lemon in front of his crotch while also in front of Lemon’s home. And a second picture that was contained in a more recent court filing also shows Hice and the leading witness rolling around in Lemon’s driveway.
Employed as a seasonal bartender at The Old Stove Pub in Sagaponack, Hice initially joined some of his co-workers after their shift and eventually wound up at Murf’s Backstreet Tavern. While there, he said he recognized the CNN personality and called over to the bartender to fix two Lemon Drop drinks as a means of playing on the host’s last name, claiming he was trying to be “cordial.”
“I didn’t mean anything derogatory towards it,” Hice said in his interview with Kelly. “But as soon as he said, ‘I’m just trying to have a good time,’ I just walked away.”
In a court filing, however, Lemon’s attorney said that Hice “repeatedly yelled” at his client from the bar, but that Lemon declined to take part.
But Hice said that Lemon came up to him several minutes later and allegedly engaged in the vulgar behavior, asking several times, “Do you like p***y or d**k?”
In response to the suit, Lemon’s attorney claimed that his client “is often subjected to racist and homophobic harassment,” while denying he harassed Hice.
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