The plaintiff, Dustin Hice, said in his Suffolk County Supreme Court lawsuit that he was assaulted by Lemon after running into him at a bar in Sagaponack, New York.
Hice, an off-duty bartender, said he noticed Lemon at the bar and jokingly offered to buy him a drink.
Hice, however, clarified that, as a heterosexual male, he was not trying to “hit on” Lemon, who is outspoken about his homosexual preferences.
“I said, ‘Hey, Don, let me buy you a drink.’ I turned to Nick the bartender and said, ‘Hey, Nick, let me get two [vodka] Lemon Drops’ and put two fingers in the air,” Hice recalled.
“Don was sitting with two or three other people, and he looks at me and goes, ‘I’m just trying to have a good time, man.’” he continued. “I said, ‘Oh, OK, sorry,’ and that was it.”
Shortly after that interaction, Lemon got up and approached Hice, he wrote in the complaint.
Lemon “walks around the bar, comes up right up to me and puts his hands down his board shorts. He rubs himself aggressively, his penis and whatever else down there,” Hice stated.
Lemon then “shoved his index and middle fingers in Plaintiff’s mustache and under Plaintiff’s nose,’’ Hice said, adding that Lemon then asked him, “‘Do you like p—y or d–k?’ And he kept saying, ‘P or D? P or D?’ He said it three or four times. I’m like, ‘Whoa man, what the hell?’”
Hice said he was so traumatized that he had to flee the bar.
Everyone in town reportedly heard about the interaction, he noted, which was infuriating and humiliating.
Hice said in his lawsuit that he suffered “severe emotional stress and loss of future earnings and opportunities” because of Lemon’s assault.
Lemon has insisted that he did nothing wrong, and CNN has continued to defend him against the accusations.
“The plaintiff in this lawsuit has previously displayed a pattern of contempt for CNN on his social media accounts,” the network said in a statement.
“This claim follows his unsuccessful threats and demands for an exorbitant amount of money from Don Lemon,” said the statement. “Don categorically denies these claims and this matter does not merit any further comment at this time.”
Hice’s lawsuit has not yet gone to court due to a lengthy discovery process and pandemic delays, but Hice’s legal team expects the first hearings to take place in January 2022, according to Fox News.
“I’m not doing this for notoriety or fame,” Hice told Fox News.
“I’m doing this because I’m standing up for myself and what I believe in,” he continued. “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.”