An Unpleasant Whiff of Don Lemon

Louis CK was in a bar in the Hamptons (you know, the Hamptons, where fabulous celebs hang out). He walked up to a black woman, stuck his hands in his pants, vigorously rubbing his genitals, then pulled it out and shoved his fingers into her face, right under her nose, and asked, “Do you like pussy or dick?”

Oh wait. It wasn’t Louis CK. It was Don Lemon. And it wasn’t a black woman, but a white man named Dustin Hice. Otherwise, the facts don’t change, just the faces and names. Does that change what happened?

“The plaintiff in this lawsuit has previously displayed a pattern of contempt for CNN on his social media accounts,” a CNN spokesperson told Mediaite in a statement. “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.”

Suit was filed against Lemon for the assault after settlement discussions broke down. It has yet to be served on Lemon, but CNN wasn’t waiting for the shoe to fall before trying to preemptively seize the narrative. In the process, they did something that lawyers will recognize as being particularly disturbing; they leaked half the settlement negotiations.

A source close to Lemon told Mediaite that Hice demanded $1.5 million from the CNN host in exchange for not filing the suit. Lemon refused, the source said, claiming he had done nothing wrong.

Sounds pretty extortionate when they put it that way. It would sound less so if they had mentioned that the offer to settle was $500,000 (there are more “sources” than just the one from CNN, you know), a not-insignificant sum of money for someone who had done nothing. It seems covering up Don Lemon’s bizarre and disgusting conduct mattered, but he just wasn’t worth any more than half a mil to CNN.

But what about his “pattern of contempt” for CNN?

As for CNN’s claim that Hice’s social media accounts displayed contempt for the network, a Twitter account under the name Dustin Hice has been deleted. An Instagram post from January 2017 purportedly posted by Hice — and obtained by Mediaite — showed him posing in front of CNN’s headquarters in Atlanta along with the caption: “touring the #CNN center today…or as #Trump would say ‘the home of Fake News’ lol.”

Does one insta post constitute a “pattern”? And was the post antagonistic toward CNN at all? It’s something of a media trick to first characterize words that are ambiguous to suggest a negative context, and then, and only then, mention what the words are. As for deleting his twitter account, partisans will seize upon anything to rip someone to shreds, joke or not, context or not, completely batshit crazy “inferences” going further and further from anything remotely related to reality. Or not. Why would anyone want to subject themselves to this?

And given the times we live in, the absence of facts serves in the minds of the unduly passionate of proof of secret malevolence, and CNN isn’t below working the Roger Ailes playbook for all its worth. Are there any other circumstances where a “legitimate” media organization like CNN could smear the “victim” with tangential claims calculated to impugn his motives on the basis of the absence of evidence and get away with it?

But there’s one huge gaping hole that’s managed to elude coverage. This happened in a public place, a bar, Murf’s Backstreet Tavern. You know what they have in a bar? People. You know what us lawyers call people who see something happen? Witnesses. This didn’t happen in a dark alley or a dorm room, it happened in Murf’s. There are witnesses to Lemon doing this.

Granted, this is still the Hamptons, and the locals don’t make any money pissing off the crazy celebs doing bad things in their establishments. After all, Hice is just some bartender working a summer job, and Don Lemon is, well, Don Lemon.

Whether all the people who watched this happen will be willing to come forward to testify and risk the ire of Lemon, his friends, CNN searching their social media accounts to smear them and save them the extra million, is another matter. And it costs a lot less than whatever it would take above the $500,000 they were more than happy to pay to silence Hice to dig up some social media dirt to taint others as they smeared Hice.

After all, it’s not as if Lemon is Louis CK, which would have changed everything.

30 thoughts on “An Unpleasant Whiff of Don Lemon

  1. John V. Burger

    Interesting. CNN went after Kavanaugh with a whole lot less evidence. Lemon is a creep and an idiot. That doesn’t make him guilty/liable fir something but he is still a creep and can idiot.

    jvb

    1. SHG Post author

      Whether he’s a creep or not has nothing to do with whether he did this or not. That’s why we build courthouses.

  2. Fredo

    Just don’t call him “Fredo.”

    On second thought, if Lemon is Fredo, would that have changed things?

    President Trump said Fredo was an out of control animal. That has to be worth some money. At least 1.5 million, right?

    He’s smart and wants respect…

  3. Patrick Maupin

    This shrill, strident table-pounding in legal PR is even noticeable in legal filings these days. Does this really work to convince anybody, or is it just done to make a quick buck by proving to the client that his concerns have been understood and communicated?

  4. CLS

    Louis C.K. walks into a bar in the Hamptons and sees Don Lemon. The two lock eyes.
    Every third wave intersectional feminist in the country is triggered.

    Thank you, I’ll be here all week. Try your waitress and tip the veal, everyone.

  5. Dan

    Wait. Sticking your fingers in someone’s face, without touching or threatening to touch the person, is an assault?

        1. SHG Post author

          No weapons involved, unless Lemon’s fingers are registered as lethal weapons, and I have nothing to support such a conclusion.

  6. Jay

    So now you’re assuming it happened even though it hasn’t been proven. Lol so much for the presumption of innocence right? You are such a joke.

    1. SHG Post author

      Am I assuming it happened, or am I refusing to assume it didn’t? And does innocence apply to civil actions?

    2. Sgt. Schultz

      The best thing about you, Jay (in fact, the only thing about you) is your persistence in reading horrible SJ by awful SHG and leaving comments to tell him how terrible he is. You’re so fucking adorable.

    3. Skink

      Jay, I’m so glad you wrote this! You may be able to help me.

      You see, I had a dream last night. I was watching porn on my computer. But it wasn’t like human porn–it was like animal porn. But they weren’t regular animals. They were all mixed-up. One looked like a mule/dog/snake combination! Others were not so clear, but they all had antennae. Some antennae were on heads, but others were on butts. Some only had one!

      I’m also not sure it was really porn because it didn’t look like sex. It was more like a parade. Not like a regular parade, but like a Chinese parade, where everything goes every which-a-way. You seen that–there don’t seem to be no plan or path, just ramble.

      I’m pretty sure they were all really pissed-off because they were yelling. In English! So I guess they weren’t alien animals. But the words didn’t go together to make a thought or express much, and none of the sentences were more than three words. It seemed like a lot of angry nothingness.

      One more thing: they all wore loafers, so I guess they never learned to tie shoes.

      Jay, were you in my dream? Can you explain what you were doing?

  7. B. McLeod

    Half of the media pieces on the Internet today seem to start with “____________ slams/rips ___________,” but when you read the story, it is typically based on the “slammer/ripper” having simply expressed some level of disagreement with a statement or position of the “slammee/rippee”. Although they can’t be bothered with little things like spelling or sensible word choices, today’s media “writers” can dial up any innocuous expression to a level of hyperbolic, expressive violence. And, indeed, they always do it by characterizing the words before revealing (sometimes instead of revealing) what the actual words were.

    1. SHG Post author

      Not only is it quite effective, but when they substitute their characterization for what was actually said, nobody seems to notice and they take the characterization as gospel.

  8. Rensselaer

    I have to imagine there is something illegal, that the First Amendment wouldn’t touch on, about a large news corporation using its investigatory tools and broad media reach to dig up dirt on someone who is threatening to sue the network, or one of its star anchors or executives. Extortion? Witness intimidation? We could invoke Popehat and ask “Is it RICO?”

      1. Rensselaer

        Popehat taught me this is is often the right answer. Although that Atlanta test cheating scandal resulted in RICO charges, which is still hard to believe.

          1. John J

            RICO did nothing wrong. They is a disabled trans POC gender studies professor at UMSNBC. RICO can do nothing wrong. They is Judith’s friend.

  9. Black Bellamy

    Hice, the alleged victim, has now trotted out his former boss, who clearly corroborates the allegation and provides a basis for a claim by stating to a reporter that both he and all the other bartenders mocked Hice relentlessly. The boss says “I was kind of making fun, I feel bad now.” Hice “was regularly teased about the incident”.

    “The place was packed. I’m sure other people saw. It was a known thing in the Hamptons, not like this quiet thing. Everybody knew Dustin and what happened to him,” Gounelas said. “Every time we went out, every bartender offered him a Lemon drop shot, making fun of him. He got some sh-t for it.”

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