A man who accused CNN host Don Lemon of rubbing his own genitals before shoving his hand in the man’s face recanted his allegation on Monday.
Dustin Hice sued Lemon in 2019 for allegedly assaulting him in a bar in the Hamptons in July of 2018. Hice said in a lawsuit that Lemon shoved his hand in Hice’s face after Lemon stuck his hands down his own pants and “vigorously” rubbed his genitals.
“After a lot of inner reflection and a deep dive into my memory, I have come to realize that my recollection of the events that occurred on the night in question when I first met CNN anchor Don Lemon were not what I thought they were when I filed this lawsuit,” Hice said in a statement on Monday afternoon.
Lemon denied the allegation, and his legal team have characterized Hice’s allegation as extortion. The CNN host’s attorney echoed the assertion in a statement following Hice’s.
“Thankfully, Mr. Hice was finally able to access his memory and recollect the correct version of events on the night when he approached Don Lemon,” the statement said. “This has been a long and difficult journey for Don. Out of respect for the judicial process and my advice, he has had to remain silent in the face of a malicious and vulgar attack on his character. Unfortunately, being a gay Black man in the media, he has had to deal with these sorts of attacks for quite some time.”
“The Court’s ruling fully vindicates Mr. Lemon and brings and end to this abusive lawsuit. This case was a crass money grab from its inception. Mr. Lemon has never paid the plaintiff a dime over the course of this unfortunate spectacle, and he is looking forward to moving on with his life,” the statement continued. “I hope that many in the media have learned their lesson on misreporting the facts and jumping to conclusions. The reporting on this story by many outlets has been a case-study in unethical and uninformed reporting.”
The “unethical and uninformed” reporting knocked by Lemon’s attorney may be a shot at Megyn Kelly, host of “The Megyn Kelly Show,” who put the spotlight on Hice’s allegations by having him on her show.
Hice appeared on Kelly’s show in November of last year and said, after a question from Kelly, that Lemon is likely a repeat offender of sexual misconduct and assault.
“Anybody that acts like that in public without any fear of what it might do to somebody or the consequences it might have, that’s a pattern,” Hice told Kelly.
“I wouldn’t be surprised,” he added. “He’s protected by the fact that he’s African American, gay man on television and I’m just some nobody.”