NEW YORK (PIX11) – CNN’s Don Lemon found himself in the middle of a Buffalo-sized social media storm after asking a controversial question about Joan Tarshis’ rape accusations against comedian Bill Cosby.
As he reviewed her account of the alleged assault, Lemon appeared to suggest that Tarshis, who was 19 at the time, could have avoided being raped if she had used her teeth. This is the full transcript of the exchange:
Lemon: Can I ask you this? I don’t mean to be crude, okay?
Lemon: You said this last night, that he — you lied to him and said I have an infection , and if you rape me, or if you do — have intercourse with me, then you will probably get it and give it to your wife.
Lemon: You said he made you perform oral sex.
Lemon: You — you know, there are ways not not to perform oral sex if you didn’t want to do it.
Tarshis: I was kind of stoned at the time, and quite honestly, that didn’t even enter my mind. Now I wish I would have.
Lemon: Right. Meaning the using of the teeth, right?
Lemon: Yes. I had to ask.
Tarshis: Yes. No, it didn’t cross my mind.
Despite Lemon’s disclaimer that he didn’t mean to be crude, it didn’t take Twitter long to turn against his suggestion — which many saw as victim-blaming amid a growing scandal with a swiftly increasing number of alleged victims.
It didn’t take long for #DonLemonReporting to trend Wednesday:
Lemon apologized Wednesday afternoon on CNN, saying, “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 offensive, I am sorry, as that certainly was not my intention.”
During a 2010 interview about an alleged pedophile pastor named Eddie Long, Lemon revealed to his guests that he was molested as a young child by someone “much older.”