He’s soured on Lemon.
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A former Hamptons bartender says in a new lawsuit that Don Lemon assaulted him after the CNN host disgustingly fondled himself at a local watering hole.
Dustin Hice says in his Suffolk County Supreme Court suit that he was slinging drinks in July 2018 for The Old Stove Pub in Sagaponack when he and his coworkers decided to go out for drinks after work one night.
The group headed to Murf’s Backstreet Tavern in Sag Harbor, where Hice told The Post, “I see out of the corner of my eye, it’s Don Lemon’’ there, too.
“I had had two beers, maybe three at the most,’’ Hice recalled. “I said, ‘Hey, Don, let me buy you a drink.’ I turned to Nick the bartender and said, ‘Hey, Nick, let me get two [vodka] Lemon Drops’ and put two fingers in the air.
“Don was sitting with two or three other people, and he looks at me and goes, ‘I’m just trying to have a good time, man.’ I said, ‘Oh, OK, sorry,’ and that was it,’’ Hice said.
“I absolutely wasn’t hitting on him whatsoever,’’ Hice said of Lemon, 53, who is gay and married. “I’m a heterosexual male.”
As alleged in his complaint, Hice, 38, told The Post, “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. He rubs himself aggressively, his penis and whatever else down there.”
Lemon then “shoved his index and middle fingers in Plaintiff’s mustache and under Plaintiff’s nose,’’ according to Hice’s suit, which was filed over the weekend.
“And he goes, ‘Do you like p—y or d–k?’ 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?’ ” Hice claimed.
The accuser said he was so traumatized that he fled the bar and came back a couple minutes later to find Lemon gone.
“I had to go into work the next day, and by then, people all across town knew it,’’ Hice told The Post. “It spread like wildfire. And I had people coming in that week and ordering Lemon Drops and being like, ‘Give me two,’ ” infuriating and humiliating him, he said.
Hice says in his suit that he suffered “severe emotional stress and loss of future earnings and opportunities’’ and is suing for unspecified damages.
CNN responded in a statement: “The plaintiff in this lawsuit has previously displayed a pattern of contempt for CNN on his social media accounts. 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.”
A source close to Lemon said Hice’s camp contacted Lemon’s lawyers and demanded $1.5 million in exchange for not filing the suit, the source said. Lemon refused the demand because he did nothing wrong, the source said.
A Hice source said there were talks about a financial settlement and that Lemon’s side offered “six figures,” but in the end, the potential deal never materialized.
CNN didn’t comment on the “six-figure” claim.
As for social-media attacks on CNN, Hice said, “I have never ever ranted about anyone, especially a news station. … I am a private, religious man.’’
Hice’s suit calls Lemon “an Emmy Award winning news anchor … who among other things, purports to be a staunch advocate for the ‘Me Too’ movement.” But “when the cameras are turned off … Mr. Lemon’s actions are in stark and disturbing contrast to the public persona he attempts to portray,’’ the suit says.
Hice’s lawyer, Andrew Miltenberg, said, “Just because my client is a straight man doesn’t make this assault any more acceptable than if he were a woman.
“This lawsuit is sending a message loud and clear — if you are in a position of power, you cannot get away with sexual assault. No matter what the circumstances are.”