Way back in August 2019, which seems like a lifetime ago in many ways, there was a story out of the Hamptons about a very strange encounter between bartender Dustin Hice and CNN host Don Lemon. Hice alleged that he’d seen Lemon in a bar in Sag Harbor called Murf’s Backstreet Tavern and that he’d offered to buy Lemon a drink. Lemon declined and that seemed to be the end of it until, according to Hice, Lemon approached him and his friends in the bar a bit later:
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 into Plaintiff’s moustache under Plaintiff’s nose.
Mr. Lemon intensely pushed his fingers against Plaintiff’s face under Plaintiff’s nose, forcing Plaintiff’s head to thrust backward as Defendant repeatedly asked Plaintiff “Do you
like pussy or dick?”. While saying this, Mr. Lemon continued to shove his fingers into Plaintiff’s face with aggression and hostility.
At the time this was reported, CNN claimed that a) Hice had expressed animus toward CNN on social media and b) Hice’s attorney had asked Lemon for $1.5 million not to file the lawsuit. Lemon denied everything and claimed it was just a nuisance lawsuit. But one unnamed person close to Hice claimed that Lemon had offered a six-figure settlement which never happened.
After that initial complaint was filed, the story seemed to completely disappear. I was actually wondering about this a few months ago and whether or not Hice had reached some sort of settlement with Lemon which had resulted in everyone clamming up permanently. But today Fox News reports that is no the case. Hice is still pursuing it and says it will go to court early next year.
It’s been over two years since Dustin Hice filed an explosive lawsuit against Lemon – who is openly gay – accusing the “CNN Tonight” host of assault and battery at a bar on New York’s Long Island during the summer of 2018…
A lengthy discovery process and the coronavirus pandemic have kept the case out of court, but Hice’s legal team told Fox News Digital the suit was ongoing and may wind up in court around January 2022.
Obviously this comes less than a week after Lemon’s on air counterpart Chris Cuomo was accused of sexual harassment by his former producer. Shelley Ross, a former producer at ABC News, claimed that back in 2005 when she was Cuomo’s boss, he came to a party and grabbed her rear end in full view of her husband. She said that Cuomo apologized about an hour later in an email with the subject line, “Now that I think of it … I am ashamed.” Ross still has the email so this seems pretty open and shut.
Neither incident appears to have resulted in any physical injuries or severe impact but that’s really not the point. The obvious problem here for CNN is that two of their most high profile evening anchors are accused of behavior that most people would agree is disturbing and pretty creepy even if it’s not likely to land someone in jail. Frankly, both incidents present an image of pampered media figures throwing their weight around in a sexually aggressive way because they think they can get away with it.
Will CNN investigate and reach its own conclusions about what Lemon did or didn’t do apart from what happens in court? Frankly they’ve had two years to do something and it seems they are backing up Lemon and hoping this fades away. If so, word that this is going to court in a few months has to be creating some problems behind the scenes right now.