Topic: Media Research Center
When a man sued CNN host Don Lemon over alleged sexiual assault in 2019, the Media Research Center couldn't move fast enough to cover the salacious details. Curtis Houck yelped in a post touting the lawsuit:
Mediaite managing editor Aidan McLaughlin broke the news< early Tuesday night thatCNN Tonight host Don Lemon is facing a lawsuit by a man seeking damages after he claimed Lemon assaulted him at a Long Island bar in July 2018.
Put simply, the news couldn’t have come at a worst time for CNN. Along with their hideous ratings and constant ridicule, Monday night featured the release of the now-viral video of Cuomo Prime Timehost Chris “Fredo” Cuomo being confronted and trolled by two individuals, which escalated to Cuomo going on an expletive-laden rant threatening to throw them down stairs.
McLaughlin reported that the lawsuit “was filed in Suffolk County on Sunday and seeks unspecified damages for ‘emotional pain and suffering.’”
In a statement to McLaughlin, a CNN spokesperson chose not to decline comment citing an ongoing legal matter. No, sir! Instead, they bashed plantiff Dustin Hice that he’s “previously displayed a pattern of contempt for CNN on his social media accounts.”
The CNN shrill added that Hice’s lawsuit “follows his unsuccessful threats and demands for an exorbitant amount of money from Don Lemon” and that Lemon “categorically denies these claims.”
Of course, Houck is paid by the MRC to heap "constant ridicule" on CNN.
The MRC continued to follow the lawsuit and make reference to it when it felt Lemon needed to be taken down a notch for refusing to be a right-wing shill (which, as you'll note above, Houck couldn't quite spell correctly). In a September 2021 post, Nicholas Fondacaro went the whataboutism route to lash back at Lemon for committing the sin of criticizing Fox News: "Lemon had some nerve to warn that lies ruin lives, when just last year CNN had to settle a defamation lawsuit brought by Covington High School student Nicholas Sandmann after they spent days smearing him as a racist. Especially since he was facing a sexual assault suit." As we've noted, it's likely that the Covington students didn't get much more than token go-away money given that CNN never had to issue a correction or apology to the students.
The next day, Fondacaro uncritically parroted a Fox News story on a lawsuit update (and, like Houck, appeared to get off on repeating the graphic claims made in the lawsuit:
According toa Fox News Digital report Tuesday, the sexual assault accusations against CNN’s Don Lemon is expected to land in court sometime in January 2022. This development came just as allegations of sexual harassment were raised against Lemon’s close friend and fellow CNN prime time host Chris Cuomo last week.
“The attorney for the man who accused fellow CNN host Don Lemon of a sexually charged assault expects the case to finally end up in court early next year after a prolonged legal process,” said senior media reporter Brian Flood.
The report noted that it’s been two years since the lawsuit was filed in August of 2019 “accusing the ‘CNN Tonight’ host of assault and battery at a bar,” and three years since the alleged incident took place. A combination of a “lengthy discovery process and the coronavirus pandemic” was what had kept them from getting to court.
The details in the lawsuit were graphic and showed a side of Lemon not seen during his normal show, but perhaps his annual drunken benders as part of CNN’s New Year’s Eve debauchery:
And in a statement to Fox News, accuser Dustin Hice called out the sexist double standard being applied to his allegations because he’s a man and not a woman:
In November, Fondacaro touted Lemon's accuser appearing on the radio show of a former Fox News host, both of whom trashed Lemon:
Don Lemon accuser Dustin Hice made an appearance on Megyn Kelly’s SiriusXM radio show on Monday to detail the alleged sexual assault he experienced at the hands of the CNN anchor in 2019, which is the subject of an ongoing lawsuit. Hice also disclosed that Lemon has made three settlement offers through his legal team, which were rejected because “money is not what I’m after.”
After noting that CNN had labeled him as an “extortionist,” Hice declared: “Money is not what I’m after here. I just want to not live the rest of my life in regret, and to have a clear conscience, and to have closure from this situation.”
As part of an examination of how Lemon disparages people on his show and refused to practice civility while proclaiming his own greatness, Kelly shared a montage of some of Lemon’s lowest moments. In his reaction, Hice lamented: “The man, his moral compass points right into the gutter.”
In his comments about CNN, Hice called out the network for filling their ranks with sexual deviants:
Again, Fondacaro repeated the graphic claims Hice made against Lemon.
But it turned out that all of the MRC's salaciousness and hatred spewed at Lemon went for naught, as Fondacaro was forced to tacitly concede in a May 2 post:
The closely watched and highly salacious sexual assault case against CNN host Don Lemon has been dropped according to reporting by Puck News co-founder Dylan Byers and a statement from his accuser admitting he misremembered what happened. Lemon’s legal team lashed out at media outlets for ever daring to report on the allegation, calling it a “case-study in unethical and uninformed reporting.”
According to a statement from accuser Dustin Hice, he claims he misremembered the events of the night in question and seemed to be withdrawing his lawsuit.
“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,” he said.
Of course, Fondacaro censored the full story of how bogus Hice's claims proved to be. Not only was Hice order to pay Lemon $77,000 for legal fees, he refused to comply with discovery requests and two of the witnesses Hice planned to call ended up becoming witnesses for Lemon's side after they changed their stories.
Fondacaro then repeated the discredited graphic claims AGAIN, even though he had just written a couple paragraphs earlier that they were discredited. He sure seems desperate to believe the worst about Lemon -- perhaps because he has been inculcated by the MRC to believe the worst about anyone who's not as right-wing as him.
Fondacaro then tried to invent a nonexistent scandal by engaging in a dubious between-the-lines reading of the statement issued by Lemons' sttorney: "Curious. Does that mean Lemon has had other such accusations leveled against him that haven’t been reported?" He then whined that Lemon's attorney called out the right-wing media for jumping on the story in an attempt to slime Lemon by breathlessly hyping uncorroborated claims:
The statement closed was an attack on the media that covered the story.
Byers suggested that this part of the statement was “likely referring to Fox News, Megyn Kelly who gave it oxygen.”
In his interview with Kelly, Hice said he was having a difficult time getting witnesses to testify because people were scared of Lemon since celebrities like him wield a lot of power in the Hamptons.
It's rather hypocritical of Lemon to decry reporting on apparently false accusations against him when he was all-in on the lies against Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
Needless to say, Fondacaro didn't admit he was one of the right-wing hype men pushing those bogus allegations. Also, Fondacaro is effectively complaining that Lemon's attorney did what the MRC did a few months back when it tried to delegitimize non-right-wing media outlets that reported on Juissie Smollett's claim of being a victim of a hate crime before additional reporting raised questions about the veracity of his claim. Also, the claims of sexual assault against Kavanaugh have never been definitively proven to be false, however much Fondacaro hopes (or has apparently been brainwashed into believing) this is the case.
Then again, Fondacaro has long had trouble telling truth from lies.