Don Lemon, a host for CNN, has apologized for suggested to Bill Cosby rape accuser Joan Tarshis that she take a bite out of the comedian’s penis rather than perform oral sex.
The CNN anchor later apologized for the comments on social media after a public outcry, according to The Root. Lemon then made an on-air apology for the lewd suggestion he made Wednesday afternoon. Tarshis appeared with Lemon and the conversation went south fast.
“You know, there are ways not to perform oral sex if you didn’t want to do it.”
Tarshis, who came forward Sunday, claimed she was sexually assaulted by Cosby as a 19-year-old aspiring actress in 1969. She appeared shocked by the question. It was the comment that Don Lemon is sorry for, but she replied to him.
“I was kind of stoned at the time, and quite honestly, that didn’t even enter my mind … Now I wish it would have.”
And that’s when Lemon’s notorious question went down the wrong path.
“Right. Meaning the using of the teeth, right?”
The Tarshis comment then become a trending topic on Twitter. After being deluged with criticism for his controversial line of questioning, the CNN host apologized on the air Wednesday afternoon.
“A word about my interview last night with Cosby accuser Joan Tarshis … As I am a victim myself I would never want to suggest that any victim could have prevented a rape. If my question to her struck anyone as insensitive, I am sorry as that is certainly and was not my intention.”
While Don Lemon is sorry for his comments, the CNN host revealed in a 2010 memoir titled Transparent that he had been the victim of a child molester, according to the Global Grind. The TV anchor came out as gay and discusses problems in the black community, homophobia, and the sexual abuse he suffered as a child.
Cosby allegedly lured Tarshis to his bungalow at Universal Studios in Los Angeles, drugged her and then forced her to perform oral sex on him. Tarshis told the CNN host that “Mr. Jello” attacked her again days later at the Sherry Netherland hotel, after she accompanied him to a performance he gave at the Westbury Music Theater on Long Island. The CNN host ended the exchange by stating, “I had to ask.”
As Don Lemon apologizes or his comments, his inappropriate interview spawned a series of outrageous tweets.
“If Amelia Earhart didn’t want to die, she shouldn’t have flown that plane over water.”
Lemon reported for NBC News’ New York City operations, including working as a correspondent for Today and NBC Nightly News and an anchor on Weekend Today and MSNBC. In 2003 he began at NBC O&O station WMAQ-TV (5 in Chicago), and was a reporter as well as local news co-anchor.
Lemon joined CNN in September 2006. The host has been outspoken in his work at CNN, criticizing the state of cable news and questioning the network publicly. He has discussed his views on improving the African American community, causing some controversy in the past.
The CNN host won an Emmy Award for a special report on the real estate market in Chicago. Don Lemon received an Edward R. Murrow Award for his coverage of the capture of the D.C. area sniper, and a number of other awards for reports on Hurricane Katrina, and the AIDS epidemic in Africa. He was voted as one of the 150 most influential African Americans by Ebony magazine in 2009.
He was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He majored in broadcast journalism at Brooklyn College in Brooklyn, New York, and also attended Louisiana State University. While in college, the CNN host worked as a news assistant at WNYW in New York City. He has also reported as a weekend anchor for WCAU in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and investigative reporter for KTVI St. Louis.
While Don Lemon has apologized for his recent comments towards Bill Cosby’s rape accuser, it’s been the first incident against someone he’s interviewed, notes The Huffington Post.