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CNN’s Don Lemon Apologizes for Controversial Comments He Made to Alleged Bill Cosby Rape Victim

There are some things you never expect to see on TV. One of those things is a CNN anchor offering suggestions to a victim of sexual assault on how not to get raped. But it happened.

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Kaitlin Thomas

There are some things you never expect to see on TV. One of those things is a CNN anchor offering suggestions to a victim of sexual assault on how not to get raped. But it happened.

On Tuesday, longtime CNN anchor Don Lemon interviewed Joan Tarshis, a music publicist who claims that Bill Cosby raped her in 1969. Tarshis reportedly told Cosby she had an infection as a means of convincing him to leave her alone. She alleges that instead of having sexual intercourse with her, Cosby forced her to perform oral sex.

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During the interview, Lemon told Tarshis, "You know, there are ways not to perform oral sex if you didn't want to do it," including "the using of teeth." Tarshis responded by saying that such a thought "didn't even enter my mind."

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On Wednesday, after Lemon's comments caused outrage online, the anchor apologized for his statement on-air:

"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." (The victimization Lemon was referring was his 2011 disclosure that he was sexually abused as a child.)

Meanwhile, Tarshis told E! News that she wasn't offended by Lemon's comment and didn't feel that he was being insensitive.

"I didn't take it that way," she said. "I was just kind of shocked, but I didn't think he was saying, 'Oh, you could have presented [sic] this if you had just fought back.' I thought it was more of a good-natured, 'Why didn't you just do that?' rather than saying, 'You could have stopped this if you had just done that.'"

You can watch Lemon's apology below: