CNN’s Don Lemon apologized after asking a victim-blaming question to a woman who has accused Bill Cosby of sexually assaulting her.
In response to the recently resurfaced accusations of sexual assault and rape against Cosby, which he denies, NBC canceled a planned project with Cosby, Netflix axed the release of a planned program with Cosby, and TV Land said it wouldn’t rerun episodes of The Cosby Show, among other things.
After Joan Tarshis said she was sexually assaulted by Cosby in 1969, Lemon asked why she didn’t stop it. Specifically, he asked why she didn’t use her teeth to avoid oral sex with Cosby.
Lemon was widely criticized for his remarks. He said:
“Can I ask you this, because — and please, I don’t mean to be crude, OK?” Lemon said, according to USA Today.
“You — you know, there are ways not to perform oral sex if you didn’t want to do it,” Lemon said to Tarshis, before suggesting “biting.”
He then defended himself by saying in the interview that “I had to ask.”
See the interview below.
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Lemon later apologized for his insensitive remarks.
“As a victim myself I would never want to suggest that any victim could have prevented a rape,” Lemon said Nov. 19, according to Mediaite. “If my question to her struck anyone as insensitive, I’m sorry as that is certainly and was not my intention.”
Lemon said in his 2010 memoir Transparent he was the “victim of a child molester,” the New York Daily News reported.
CNN declined to comment to iMediaEthics about the apology.
See below Lemon’s apology.