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Don Lemon was hit with a lawsuit that accused the news anchor of assault at a Hamptons bar last summer, and CNN is standing behind Lemon. 

Dustin Hice, a former Hamptons bartender, filed the lawsuit in New York, over the weekend, reports Mediate.

The alleged incident that Hice referred to as a “demeaning, unprovoked and offensive assault,” reportedly transpired in July 2018.

Hice said that the news anchor approached him and offered him “The Lemon Drop,” a drink named after Lemon.

Hice claimed that he turned down the cocktail but was later approached by Lemon who “put his hand down the front of his own shorts, and vigorously rubbed his genitalia, removed his hand and shoved his index and middle in [Hice’s] mustache and under [Hice’s] nose.”

Amid the lawsuit, CNN told Deadline that “Don categorically denies these claims and this matter does not merit any further comment at this time.”

On Tuesday (Aug. 13), a statement was given that claimed “the plaintiff in this lawsuit has previously displayed a pattern of contempt for CNN on his social media accounts,” and it coincides with the claim after “his unsuccessful threats and demands for an exorbitant amount of money from Don Lemon.”

Hice demanded $1.5million in exchange prior to filing the lawsuit, according to a source close Lemon’s team. The news anchor refused to be extorted because he felt that he hadn’t done anything wrong.

Hice has continued to “suffer emotionally, mentally, and personally” from the alleged incident and has missed “future earnings and opportunities,” according to the filing.

Lemon himself is a sexual assault survivor, and the news anchor previously spoke out about the abuse that he suffered.

“There is no standard way survivors talk about sexual assault, it isn’t always a police phone call and a rape kit or a report filed with HR, sometimes they don’t talk at all or years, even decades,” Lemon said in 2018 while speaking about the experience that took place when he was young.


Glennisha Morgan is a Detroit-bred multimedia journalist and writer. She writes about intersectionality, hip-hop, pop culture, queer issues, race, feminism, and her truth. Follow her on Twitter @GlennishaMorgan.