Dustin Hice filed an explosive lawsuit towards Lemon – who’s overtly homosexual — final yr, accusing the “CNN Tonight” host of a sexually charged assault.
Hice informed Fox Information the alleged “vile, disgusting, lewd and inhumane” assault could be handled a lot otherwise if he had been a lady.
“[Lemon] put his hand down the entrance of his personal shorts, and vigorously rubbed his genitalia, eliminated his hand and shoved his index and center fingers into Plaintiff’s mustache and beneath Plaintiff’s nostril,” according to the lawsuit, filed Aug. 11, 2019 in Suffolk County Court docket.
Lemon provided a six-figure settlement earlier than talks broke down and the formal criticism was filed, based on Hice.
“I’m not doing this for notoriety or fame, I’m doing this because I’m standing up for myself and what I believe in,” Hice informed Fox Information. “I’ve grown a new respect for people dealing with mental health issues because stress, depression, anxiety, those are all very serious things. It consumed my life.”
CNN didn’t reply to a collection of questions from Fox Information, together with a request for remark relating to Hice’s declare that Lemon provided him a six-figure settlement.
Lemon was served with the criticism Wednesday. The case was transferring to discovery, based on a supply near Hice’s authorized workforce.
CNN didn’t instantly reply with a remark relating to the criticism being served.
Lemon, by means of CNN, beforehand vehemently denied Hice’s allegations, and has continued to host “CNN Tonight.”
“I’ve grown a little skeptical of the news after what’s happened to me, nobody acknowledges it anymore,” Hice stated. “The hypocrisy, he is a black, gay, liberal and supposed #MeToo advocate but when it doesn’t fit their narrative, or it’s one of their own, they don’t even address it.”
Lemon allegedly requested a crude query about Hice’s sexual choice through the bodily confrontation, leaving him “shocked and humiliated,” based on the swimsuit. The alleged incident occurred at Murf’s Backstreet Tavern, within the prestigious Hamptons space east of New York Metropolis in July 2018.
CNN initially denied Hice’s account and stated Hice appeared to bear animosity towards the cable information community. However, Hice stated he didn’t watch a lot CNN, except “Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown,” earlier than the alleged incident and had no motive to trash the community.
Final yr, the New York Put up cited a “source close to Lemon” who stated Hice requested for $1.5 million in change for not submitting the lawsuit. Hice admitted that $1.5 million was a determine mentioned throughout settlement talks however stated it’s solely a part of the story.
“They painted me as trying to extort $1.5 million from him but they never mentioned that he offered many times over six figures to settle. He tried to make payments on that and I said, ‘No thank you,’” Hice stated. “I think that when he went to CNN and [denied the accusations], he probably failed to mention that he offered me well over six figures in the settlement process.”
Whereas Hice wasn’t notably opinionated about CNN earlier than the alleged incident, he has since paid shut consideration to Lemon’s present.
“I don’t want to see his face on the news anymore because he’s a blatant liar and hypocrite,” Hice stated, pointing to a Sept. 2018 phase when Lemon mentioned the varied methods victims of sexual harassment handled the aftermath and trauma.
“It was only two months after he assaulted me,” Hice stated. “This is something that I’m going to be healing from and recovering from for the rest of my life.”
Hice stated he didn’t need to take the highlight away from feminine victims of abuse and stated he developed a robust sympathy for anybody going by means of related struggles.
“The media has labeled me as an ‘accuser,’ as opposed to a ‘victim,’ just because I’m a male,” he stated. “I’ve been struggling, but there is a lot of people that have gone through a lot worse things than somebody rubbing their genitals and putting it in your face, as disgusting and vile as that is. There are people that have been raped and worse.”
Hice stated he took a polygraph take a look at with a former FBI profiler to show to individuals near him that he’s telling the reality.
“I passed with flying colors, this guy hooked me up to this whole machine, it was nerve-wracking but I just wanted to prove that I’m not lying,” Hice stated. “Witnesses saw this happen. The whole town of Sag Harbor knew.”
Final yr, when the swimsuit initially was filed, Fox Information spoke with George Gounelas, one of many witnesses named within the swimsuit who was Hice’s boss on the time of the alleged incident.
Hice approached Lemon to strike up a dialog however the newsman declined, based on Gounelas, who stated he and Hice then provided to purchase Lemon a drink, which the CNN host additionally declined.
Hice informed Fox Information he merely needed to have the ability to share a narrative of taking a shot with the CNN host and was not hostile, confrontational or in search of bother.
“He took offense to it, or took it as me flirting, and that’s when he decided he’s above the law and can do whatever the hell he wanted,” Hice stated.
Gounelas stated that a couple of moments later, Lemon got here as much as them.
“Don Lemon has now come around the corner and is standing face to face with us. There is a beam, a pole, in the place. Don’s standing up against the pole, face to face with Dustin, I turn around and I’m standing right there between the two of them,” Gounelas stated. “He’s saying, ‘So, you like me? Is that why you’re bothering me?’”
Gounelas informed Fox Information he couldn’t recall what Lemon stated verbatim, however it was “along the lines of, ‘Do you like me? Is that why you’re bothering me, because you wanna f— me?’”
Gounelas stated Lemon appeared “pretty drunk” when he confronted the duo.
“He put his hands down his pants, inside his board shorts, grabbed his [genitals], and then came out with two fingers and, like, clipped Dustin’s nose up and down with two fingers asking ‘do you like p—- or d—?’” Gounelas stated.
Gounelas additionally stated he laughed through the alleged incident and instantly mocked Hice as “gross” due to Lemon’s alleged actions – however Hice didn’t assume it was a laughing matter.
“Dustin was in this shock mode, saying, ‘Bro, did that just happen? That was disgusting,’” Gounelas stated, noting that the story adopted Hice. “Every time we went out, every bartender offered him a lemon drop shot, making fun of him. He got some sh– for it.”
“The plaintiff in this lawsuit has previously displayed a pattern of contempt for CNN on his social media accounts,” a CNN spokesperson informed Fox Information in a press release when the swimsuit was first filed final yr. “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,” the CNN spokesperson added final yr.