Updated: Aug 15, 2019
According to a lawsuit filed Sunday, CNN’s Don Lemon is being sued by a man named Dustin Hice, 38, who is seeking unspecified damages for “severe emotional stress and loss of future earnings and opportunities” after Lemon "physically and verbally attacked him in a public bar' in the Hamptons last summer.
According to Mediaite, Hice says the encounter took place at Sag Harbor dive bar Murf’s in July 2018. After recognizing the anchor, Hice “tried to get Mr. Lemon’s attention and offered to buy Mr. Lemon a drink,” the suit claims. The suit says Lemon declined, stating he was “just trying to have a good time.”
In an interview with the New York Post, Hice says, “I absolutely wasn’t hitting on him whatsoever. I’m a heterosexual male.”
Hice then claims in the suit that Lemon approached him later that night.
“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.
According to Hice, Lemon allegedly repeatedly shoved his fingers in Hice’s face and asked, “Do you like pussy or dick?” “I had to go into work the next day, and by then, people all across town knew it,’’ Hice told The Post.
Lemon responded to the allegations in a statement through CNN.
“The plaintiff in this lawsuit has previously displayed a pattern of contempt for CNN on his social media accounts,” the cable news outlet told Deadline. “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.”
According to Mediaite a source close to Lemon says Hice attempted to blackmail him for $1.5 million in exchange for not filing the suit. Lemon refused, the source told Mediaite, claiming he had done nothing wrong.
Hice’s attorney’s gave a statement to Mediaite in response to CNN’s statement:
“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.”
According to Mediaite, CNN claims 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.”
Read the full complaint here.