CNN’s Don Lemon is “categorically denying” claims in a lawsuit filed by a former Hamptons bartender who says the prime-time TV host assaulted him in a “demeaning, unprovoked, and offensive” manner at a Sag Harbor tavern. According to a suit filed Sunday in New York’s Suffolk County, Dustin Hice alleges Lemon placed his hands down his pants and “vigorously [rubbed] his genitalia” and then put his fingers under Hice’s nose, before proceeding to ask the plaintiff sexually aggressive questions about his sexual orientation at Murf’s Backstreet Tavern in July 2018. Hice claims he suffered “severe emotional stress and loss of future earnings and opportunities,” and is suing Lemon for an unspecified amount.
USA Today reports that “Don categorically denies these claims,” according to a CNN spokesperson. CNN alleged that “the plaintiff in this lawsuit has previously displayed a pattern of contempt for CNN on his social media accounts,” in a statement released Wednesday morning. “This claim follows his unsuccessful threats and demands for an exorbitant amount of money from Don Lemon.”