In an unexpected turn of events, the former manager of the man who has accused CNN’s Don Lemon of sexual assault detailed his eyewitness account to Fox News, corroborating the details of the accuser’s account.
George Gounelas, who was the manager to accuser Dustin Hice at the Old Stove Pub in July of 2018, when the event allegedly took place, detailed the encounter between Lemon and Hice at Murf’s Backstreet Tavern, which is located in the prestigious Hamptons area east of New York City, Fox News reported.
While Lemon has thoroughly denied the claims made by Hice, Gounelas confirmed his former employee’s story, giving a detailed account:
“Dustin worked for me as a bartender [and] we went out after work one night. We were standing there and he said, ‘Hey, that’s Don Lemon,’” Gounelas said according to Fox News.
“Murf’s is a place you go to drink after you’ve been out drinking. We had just gotten off of work. So that’s why we ended up there, because we worked in the restaurant business. So by the time everything is done, we can only hit a late-night spot.”
Hice reportedly approached Lemon to strike up a conversation but the Lemon declined, and Hice followed that up by offering to buy Lemon a drink, which the CNN host also declined.
Moments later, according to Gounelas, Lemon approached them:
“Don Lemon has now come around the corner and is standing face to face with us. There is a beam, a pole, in the place. Don’s standing up against the pole, face to face with Dustin, I turn around and I’m standing right there between the two of them,” Gounelas said. “He’s saying, ‘So you like me? Is that why you’re bothering me?’”
Hice responded saying, “Nah, man, I just wanted to say, ‘What’s up?’” Gounelas said. The accuser’s manager went on to say that while he couldn’t recall verbatim but that the seemingly “pretty drunk” CNN host said something “along the lines of, ‘Do you like me? Is that why you’re bothering me, because you wanna f— me?’”
“He 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 p—- or d—?’” Gounelas said.
“Dustin was in this shock mode saying, ‘Bro, did that just happen? That was disgusting,’” Gounelas said, going on to say that he was unsure if Lemon was confronting them or just flirting.
“I guess it’s a little of both. If someone had done that to me, I probably would have punched him. But I think it might have been flirting. I think Dustin was more in shock… If someone was flirting with me like that I’d say, ‘alright man I’m not gay,’” Gounelas said. “I wouldn’t go up to a girl like that. It could be his way of flirting.”
According to Gounelas the event was widely known and talked about, thanks to the public place that the confrontation took place:
“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.”
Gounelas also said Hice was “a little messed up” from the alleged incident.
“This is the only thing he could talk about, not in a good way, like ‘I can’t believe that sh-t happened,’” Gounelas said.
Lemon previously offered a six-figure settlement to Hice before he filed the formal complaint, according to Fox News’s sources.
CNN responded to the suit saying that “The plaintiff in this lawsuit has previously displayed a pattern of contempt for CNN on his social media accounts,” a CNN spokesperson told Fox News 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,” the CNN spokesperson added.