Don Lemon, known primarily for drunken antics on New Year's Eve and shaming rape victims, is proving to be an effective rallying force for Donald Trump and conservatives. Yes, you heard that right.
Last night, Lemon aired a segment in which his guests belittled Trump supporters. Twitter went radioactive, positively apoplectic. But why, you might ask. Doesn't every CNN personality try to insult the MAGA community? Sure, but this was different.
Lemon lost his composure on air, snorting in laughter, bending double not once but twice, forcing the camera to pan back as he yukked it up over his guest's jeering imitations of Trump voters. Their imitations featured southern accents, poor grammar, and displays of geographical ignorance.
Lemon's guests were political consultant Rick Wilson and New York Times writer Wajahat Ali. Wilson started the ball rolling with his quip that “Donald Trump couldn’t find Ukraine on a map if you had the letter ‘U’ and a picture of an actual, physical crane next to it."
Trump's reply was succinct.
Lemon has had countless gaffes on air. The garden variety aren't worth repeating, but the theme that runs throughout is a naiveté not befitting an anchorman. He is immature, lacking any worldly sense. His editorial comments are often of the OMG, how can _____ even think that way?! variety.
In this light, it makes sense that Lemon was credibly accused of sexual assault in August. At a bar in the Hamptons, he is alleged to have assaulted Dustin Hice. From Breitbart:
Hice spotted Lemon and tried to start up a conversation, but the anti-Trump activist snubbed him.
A little later, though, Gounelas claims Lemon came 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?’”
According to Gounelas, Hice responded, “Nah, man, I just wanted to say, ‘What’s up?’”
While he can’t remember what was said exactly, Gounelas says Lemon was “pretty drunk” and responded with something along the lines of, “Do you like me? Is that why you’re bothering me, because you wanna fuck me?”
The witness describes what he says happened next:
[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 told Fox News that at first he laughed, but that Hice was disgusted, saying, “Dustin was in this shock mode saying, ‘Bro, did that just happen? That was disgusting.’”
“If someone had done that to me, I probably would have punched him,” Gounelas added. “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.’ I wouldn’t go up to a girl like that. It could be his way of flirting.”
Hice has filed a lawsuit against Lemon, who denies he has done anything wrong.
This story, as well as asking a Bill Cosby rape victim why she didn't prevent her rape, paint a juvenile picture.
Lemon: And you said he made you perform oral sex.
Lemon: You know, there are ways not to perform oral sex if you didn’t want to do it.
Tarshis: Oh. Um, I was kind of stoned at the time, and quite honestly, that didn’t even enter my mind. Now I wish it would have.
Lemon: Right. Meaning the using of the teeth, right?
Tarshis: Yes, that’s what I’m thinking you’re —
Lemon: As a weapon.
Tarshis: Yeah, I didn’t even think of it.
Lemon gets a pass for these otherwise unforgivable incidents for many reasons, not the least of which is his protected status as a liberal media figure. But there's more at work here.
Back to last night:
At the conclusion of his on-air giggle fit, Lemon dabbed at his eyes with a handkerchief before saying, "Rick, that was a good one. I needed that. OK...OK let's get back to business."
That's the real comedy in this clip, that Don Lemon believes he has ever been involved of the "business" of news. He was hired to look good (and black) while reading the news. Coming out of the closet in 2011 made him untouchable. When he proceeded to flail repeatedly, CNN boss Jeff Zucker only tightened his grasp. It's like the coach who keeps starting a sentimental favorite player, and losing as a result.
As a result of CNN foisting their desired outcome on the public, Lemon's ratings have fallen to truly abysmal lows. His guests are often obscure.
Part of Lemon's quote, "I needed that", is exactly right. He must crave every bit of levity that blows through the bars of his gilded cage. His career survives on Zucker's forced feeding tube, not upon either skill or merit. Lemon deludes himself into believing he's in on the joke instead of its punchline.
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