CNN news anchor Don Lemon was chastised on Twitter Wednesday after he essentially said that Bill Cosby accuser Joan Tarshis could have avoided rape. The hashtag #DonLemonReporting soon turned into a top-trending topic on the social media site after he insinuated a person can prevent being forced into oral sex by biting the abuser’s genitals.
The exact comment that got people talking was, “You know, there are ways not to perform oral sex if you didn't want to do it.” Tarshis said she did not think of that and Lemon added she could have used her teeth as a “weapon” by “biting.” While some users took the opportunity to make jokes about Lemon’s response to Tarshis’ claim, others were offended by what he said to the alleged victim.
#donlemonreporting If homeless people don't like their lifestyle, why don't they just get a house?
— Maggie Patterson (@Maggeggie) Nov. 19, 2014
Sorry, Buffalo. But, you could have ... moved ... to a warmer climate. Did you think about moving? #DonLemonReporting
— Peyton's Head (@PeytonsHead) Nov. 19, 2014
#DonLemonReporting Why don't polar bears just move off the dangerous thinning Artic ice and live on solid ground like their cousins?
— Erin M. (@4everSunshine79) Nov. 19, 2014
Lemon, who came out as gay in 2011, apologized for his comment Wednesday. He explained he was also a victim of sexual abuse. “I would never want to suggest that any victim could have prevented a rape,” he said on CNN. “If my question to her struck anyone as insensitive, I am sorry.”
While Twitter users might have been outraged by Lemon’s comment, Tarshis told People she was not offended, just “flustered.” "I was kinda shocked," she said. "And then a part of me thought, 'Damn, why didn't I think of that?' "
Supermodel Janice Dickinson accused the comedian of rape Tuesday during an interview with "Entertainment Tonight." She said it was a “true story” and she was speaking out now because it was the right thing to do.
Cosby, who has been accused of sexual assault by more than a dozen women, according to Raw Story, denied the allegations against him. His lawyer issued a statement that said, “Over the last several weeks, decade-old, discredited allegations against Mr. Cosby have resurfaced” and “the fact they are being repeated does not make them true.”
Follow me on Twitter @mariamzzarella