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Aug 15, 2019 4:19 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Lawsuit States That CNN's Don Lemon Made Sexual Gestures At Murf's Backstreet Tavern Last Summer

Don Lemon at his Sag Harbor home last year.  PRESS FILE
Aug 19, 2019 5:16 PM

A former bartender at the Old Stove Pub in Sagaponack filed a lawsuit this week in State Supreme Court in Suffolk County alleging that CNN anchorman Don Lemon sexually assaulted him at Murf’s Backstreet Tavern in Sag Harbor in July 2018.

In the lawsuit, Dustin Hice of Florida accuses Mr. Lemon, who has a home in Sag Harbor, of physical and verbal assault. Mr. Hice is seeking unspecified damages for assault and battery.

On July 15, a group of Old Stove Pub employees headed to Murf’s Backstreet Tavern after work, according to the suit.

Mr. Hice noticed Mr. Lemon as a familiar face at the bar, enjoying a drink with his friends, according to the court documents. Soon after, Mr. Hice offered to buy Mr. Lemon a “Lemon Drop,” which is a vodka cocktail. Mr. Lemon, 53, denied Mr. Hice’s offer, the documents state.

Mr. Lemon returned to his friends and both groups went about their night, and there was no further interaction until later in the night, the statement claims.

But then Mr. Lemon, at the time wearing a pair of shorts, sandals and a T-shirt, allegedly walked toward Mr. Hice and his friends. Mr. Hice stated that Mr. Lemon 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 Mr. Hice’s mustache.

The complaint continues that Mr. Lemon “intensely pushed his fingers” under Mr. Hice’s nose and against his face with “aggression and hostility,” forcing his head to thrust backward, as Mr. Lemon repeatedly asked profane questions relating to Mr. Hice’s sexual orientation.

Following the incident, Mr. Hice said, he was “shocked and humiliated” and fled the bar, as the manager of Old Stove Pub followed Mr. Hice to console him for about 5 to 10 minutes. When the men returned to Murf’s, Mr. Lemon had left the premises, the paperwork states.

According to a spokesperson for CNN, Mr. Lemon denies the claims.

“The plaintiff in this lawsuit has previously displayed a pattern of contempt for CNN on his social media accounts,” the spokesperson said on Thursday, August 15. “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.”

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