Don Lemon Asks Bill Cosby Accuser Why She Didn't Bite His Penis To Stop Her Rape

11/19/2014 09:01 am ET | Updated Nov 19, 2014

CNN's Don Lemon is no stranger to tense and uncomfortable interviews, but a conversation with Bill Cosby's latest rape accuser Tuesday night took a particularly shocking turn for the worse.

Speaking with Joan Tarshis, a woman who recently accused Bill Cosby of sexually assaulting her 45 years ago, the CNN host asked his guest why she didn't use her teeth as "a weapon" while being forced to perform oral sex on the comedian.

Lemon at first apologized for sounding "crude," and then pressed further: "You know, there are ways not to perform oral sex if you didn't want to do it," he said.

"Biting," he later said more directly.

"I didn't even think of it," Tarshis replied.

Read the full exchange:

Lemon: Can I ask you this, because -- and please, I don't mean to be crude, ok?

Tarshis: Yeah.

Lemon: Because I know some of you -- and 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 -- if you have intercourse with me, then you will probably get it and give it to your wife."

Tarshis: Right.

Lemon: And you said he made you perform oral sex.

Tarshis: Right.

Lemon: You know, there are ways not to perform oral sex if you didn't want to do it.

Tarshis: Oh. Um, I was kind of stoned at the time, and quite honestly, that didn't even enter my mind. Now I wish it would have.

Lemon: Right. Meaning the using of the teeth, right?

Tarshis: Yes, that's what I'm thinking you're --

Lemon: As a weapon.

Tarshis: Yeah, I didn't even think of it.

Lemon: Biting.

Tarshis: Ouch.

Lemon: Yes. I had to ask. I mean, it is, yeah.

Tarshis: Yes. No, it didn't cross my mind.

A CNN spokesperson did not immediately respond for comment.

After the interview, #DonLemonReporting took over Twitter:

UPDATE [2:25 p.m. ET]: Lemon addressed his comments on Wednesday afternoon during a CNN segment:

“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 is certainly and was not my intention.”

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