Longtime CNN host Don Lemon is the subject of a lawsuit filed by a New York bartender who said Lemon assaulted him in a bar in the summer of 2018, according to documents obtained by Mediaite.
Dustin Hice accuses Lemon, 53, of committing a “demeaning, unprovoked and offensive assault” on him that allegedly took place at Murf’s Backstreet Tavern in Sag Harbor, New York, in July 2018.
In his lawsuit, Hice said, “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 (Hice’s) mustache and under (Hice’s) nose.”
A CNN spokesperson told Deadline in a statement that, “Don categorically denies these claims.”
“The plaintiff in this lawsuit has previously displayed a pattern of contempt for CNN on his social media accounts,” the statement reads. “This claim follows his unsuccessful threats and demands for an exorbitant amount of money from Don Lemon.”
Hice continues on in the lawsuit, claiming Lemon aggressively probed Hice on sexual preferences, saying, “Do you like (vagina) or (penis)? While saying this, Mr. Lemon continued to shove his fingers into (Hice’s) face with aggression and hostility.”
Hice says Lemon’s abhorrent behavior has caused “severe emotional stress and loss of future earnings and opportunities.”
The lawsuit states Lemon’s public persona is not congruent with his personal behavior, saying Lemon is not a “staunch advocate for the ‘Me Too’ that he saw on television. When the cameras are turned off … Mr. Lemon’s actions are in stark and disturbing contrast to the public persona he attempts to convey.”