Shelby Talcott on August 16, 2019
The former boss of the man who filed an assault lawsuit against CNN’s Don Lemon came forward as a witness to the alleged assault, according to Fox News.
Dustin Hice filed a lawsuit Sunday against Lemon, a CNN host, alleging that Lemon “rubbed his genitalia” and then shoved his fingers in Hice’s face at a Long Island, New York, bar in 2018. CNN said that Lemon “categorically denies these claims” in a statement to the Daily Caller News Foundation Tuesday.
George Gounelas, Hice’s former manager at the bar where the alleged assault took place, told Fox News he witnessed the incident and supported Hice’s claims.
“He [Lemon] put his hands down his pants, inside his board shorts, grabbed his [genitals], and then came out with two fingers and, like, clipped Dustin’s nose up and down with two fingers asking ‘do you like pussy or dick?’” Gounelas alleged according to Fox News.
“If someone had done that to me, I probably would have punched him.”
This was after Lemon came up to Hice and allegedly said something “along the lines of, ‘Do you like me? Is that why you’re bothering me, because you wanna fuck me?” Fox News reported. Hice had previously offered to buy Lemon a drink.
Gounelas said that he laughed at the incident and made fun of Hice for being “gross,” but feels bad now, Fox News reported. He also said that other people probably saw the alleged assault.
“The place was packed. I’m sure other people saw,” Gounelas said. “It was a known thing in the Hamptons, not like this quiet thing. Everybody knew Dustin and what happened to him. Every time we went out, every bartender offered him a Lemon drop shot, making fun of him. He got some shit for it.”
Hice first asked Lemon for $1.5 million in order to drop the lawsuit, a source close to Lemon said. Lemon did not agree and said he had done nothing wrong.
Lemon “was wearing a pair of shorts, sandals, and a t-shirt, put his hand down the front of his own shorts, and vigorously rubbed his genitalia, removed his hand and shoved his index and middle fingers in Plaintiff’s moustache and under Plaintiff’s nose,” the lawsuit reads.
“The plaintiff in this lawsuit has previously displayed a pattern of contempt for CNN on his social media accounts,” a CNN spokesperson said in a previous statement to the DCNF. “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.”
CNN did not immediately respond to a request for comment.