CNN’s Don Lemon was accused of sexual assault in by a Long Island bartender in 2019. Now his accuser Dustin Hice is saying Lemon’s alleged misconduct may indicate a “pattern” of behavior.

“Anybody that acts like that in public without any fear of what it might it do to somebody or the consequences it might have, that’s a pattern,” Hice said on The Megyn Kelly Show Monday.

“He’s protected by the fact that he’s African American, gay man on television and I’m just some nobody.”

Hice has filed a civil suit against Lemon seeking unspecified damages for “severe emotional stress and loss of future earnings and opportunities.” 

Lemon has denied the allegations. 

Don Lemon Accused of 2018 Assault

In the lawsuit, Dustin Hice claims that he encountered Don Lemon in a Hamptons bar in 2018. 

Hice said he arrived at Murf’s Backstreet Tavern and spotted the CNN anchor, when he offered to buy him a lemon drop cocktail, a joking reference to the journalist’s last name. 

“I didn’t mean anything derogatory towards it,” Hice told Megyn Kelly. “But as soon as he said, ‘I’m just trying to have a good time,’ I just walked away.”

Dustin Hice said CNN's Don Lemon sexually assaulted him in a Long Island bar. Hice said the alleged assault shows a pattern of abusive behavior by Lemon.
Dustin Hice said CNN’s Don Lemon sexually assaulted him in a Long Island bar. Hice said the alleged assault shows a pattern of abusive behavior by Lemon. Photo credit: Megyn Kelly YouTube

“About 5 or 10 minutes later, Don gets up, walks around the bar, comes up right up to me and puts his hands down his board shorts,” Hice alleged to the New York Post in 2019. “He rubs himself aggressively, his penis and whatever else down there.”

Then, Hice claimed, Lemon removed his hand from his pants and “shoved his index and middle fingers” in Hice’s “mustache and under [his] nose,” according to the suit.

“And he goes, ‘Do you like p—y or d–k?’” Hice told the Post. “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?’”

Lemon’s accuser said he fled the bar after the alleged assault. He claimed that when he returned later that night, the CNN anchor was gone. 

“I had to go into work the next day, and by then, people all across town knew it,’’ Hice said to the Post. “It spread like wildfire. And I had people coming in that week and ordering lemon drops and being like, ‘Give me two.’”

CNN's Don Lemon is accused of sexually assaulting Dustin Hice at Murf's Backstreet Tavern in Long Island in 2018. Lemon has denied the accusations.
CNN’s Don Lemon is accused of sexually assaulting Dustin Hice at Murf’s Backstreet Tavern in Long Island in 2018. Lemon has denied the accusations. Photo credit: Google Maps

Don Lemon Denies Assault Allegations

For his part, Lemon has denied the accusations since they first emerged in 2019. 

Lemon’s lawyers said that Hice “repeatedly yelled” at the CNN anchor from across the bar, but that he declined the advances. 

His network has also denied the charges, and issued a statement two years ago claiming Hice had a grudge against the network. 

“The plaintiff in this lawsuit [Dustin Hice] has previously displayed a pattern of contempt for CNN on his social media accounts,” the statement said. “This claim follows his unsuccessful threats and demands for an exorbitant amount of money from Don Lemon.”

In legal filings related to the civil suit, Lemon’s lawyers have claimed that Hice withheld text messages and deleted social media posts about the CNN anchor. Hice later admitted to the latter.

Lemon’s legal team has also said that Hice told his friend, a witness to the alleged assault, that there would be “a financial reward for testimony corroborating his story,” according to the Post

But in a deposition, that witness reportedly said he “wasn’t sure” that Hice had any physical contact with the CNN anchor on the night in question. 

Most bizarrely, text messages between Hice and a different witness included photos of the accuser standing in front of Don Lemon’s home, holding a lemon to his crotch. 

This bizarre photo filed in court apparently shows Dustin Hice holding a fruit to his crotch in the driveway of CNN anchor Don Lemon, who Hice claims sexually assaulted him.
This bizarre photo filed in court apparently shows Dustin Hice holding a fruit to his crotch in the driveway of CNN anchor Don Lemon, who Hice claims sexually assaulted him. Photo credit: U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York