CNN’s in duck-and-cover mode this morning after Don Lemon had another on-air brain fart last night — this time during a do-over interview with one of the women accusing Bill Cosby of raping her years ago, in which he wondered why she had not used her teeth as “a weapon” to bite Cosby’s penis when he allegedly drugged her and forced her to perform oral sex on him.
“I need to say something before we get to our next story,” Lemon said in the first quarter of the 11 AM PT hour today, as he filled in for Brooke Baldwin.
“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 certainly was not my intention.”
(Lemon said in 2010 he was the victim of a pedophile).
Except, one night earlier, when he interviewed Tarshis for a second consecutive night, he’d done just that.
“Can I ask you this – and please, I don’t mean to be crude,” Lemon began, setting up his state of non-responsibility for the question to come.
“You know, there are ways not to perform oral sex if you don’t want to do it,” he said.
Tarshis, clearly surprised by the obvious implication of Lemon’s coy comment, explained defensively that she was stoned at the time of the alleged incident, which she says happened when she was 19, adding “quite honestly, that didn’t even enter my mind. Now I wish it would have.”
“Meaning the using of the teeth, right?” Lemon persisted, for viewers at home.
“Yes, that’s what I’m thinking you’re –” Tarshis began.
“As a weapon,” Lemon continued.
“I didn’t even think of it,” Tarshis reiterated.
“Biting,” Lemon explained, for good measure.
“Ouch,” she said, weakly, completing the TV tableau of a woman being asked by a TV news star on his CNN program to explain to viewers at home she had not taken this basic step to prevent her alleged attacker from raping her.
“I had to ask,” Lemon said, putting back on his I’m Not Responsible, Just Doing My Job hat.
It was not clear why Lemon got a do-over interview with Tarshis last night, though it appears that, among other reasons, it was intended to do damage control for Lemon’s first interview with Tarshis, one night earlier.
“As you were on last night, I had lots of people saying ‘Why were you so skeptical of Joan’s story?’,” Lemon said at the top of last night’s interview.
“And I was just asking you questions. Do you think I was being skeptical?” Lemon asked Tarshis, like a child asking Mommy to make it better.
“I thought you were doing your job,” Tarshis said, giving him what he wanted.
“Yeah, that’s the tough part of this,” Lemon said self-pityingly — to a woman who had allegedly been raped twice by a celebrity and kept it to herself for decades because she felt no one would believe her.
“As you do know, there are a lot of people who don’t believe you, and they say, ‘Why didn’t you got to police, and why would you put yourself in a position to be with him a second time if he had raped you once?’,” Lemon said, remembering this was about her, not him.
Tarshis has claimed Cosby lured her to his bungalow at Universal Studios in Los Angeles when he was doing The Cosby Show for NBC, drugged her and then forced her to perform oral sex on him. She claims he attacked her again some time later, at the Sherry Netherland hotel, when she went, at his invitation and her parents’ urging, to a performance he gave at the Westbury Music Theater on Long Island.
Reacting to Lemon on-air brain farts has become a sort of parlor game on Twitter, and has given birth to the hashtag #DonLemonReporting.
Lemon previously has suggested something “supernatural” happened when Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 disappeared last March.
“I have been getting questions from viewers on social media, through email — and even on the street,” Lemon said, blaming others as he frequently does when he has these episodes. That day he said he was bringing up the supernatural theory in re the airplane’s disappearance because he was on CNN “on a day when we deal with the supernatural…We go to church, the supernatural power of God…people are saying to me, why aren’t you talking about the possibility — and I’m just putting it out there — that something odd happened to this plane, something beyond our understanding?”
He also asked a panel of experts, on a Wednesday, aka Non Supernatural Day, whether the plane had been sucked into a black hole. Mary Schiavo, former Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Transportation, resisted the urge to clump him on the head with her shoe and instead responded patiently, “A small black hole would suck in our entire universe, so we know it’s not that.”
Anyway, some small good came out of Lemon’s Bite the Penis lecturing of Tarshis last night — the return of #DonLemonReporting:
When Germany invaded Poland, what was Poland wearing? Was it drunk? Was it begging for it?
Joan of Arc, I have to ask,if you’d kept your mouth shut, wouldn’t this whole heresy thing have gone away?
Wouldn’t history be different if a black hole had swallowed Oswald’s bullets mid-trajectory?”
I’ve heard that if you poke a shark in the eye, you’ll deter an attack. How much different is a shark from a rapist?
To Ray Rice’s wife: The stairs.. Seriously. Ever consider taking the stairs? Would have saved everyone a lot of hooey.