Music/film mogul Russell Simmons is being accused by a former model of forcing her to engage in sex as filmmaker Brett Ratner watched and did nothing, according to a report.
Keri Claussen Khalighi said she was 17 years old when the incident happened in 1991 at Simmons’s New York apartment. The story was first reported Sunday by the Los Angeles Times.
Khalighi claimed she accompanied Simmons and Ratner to the apartment to ostensibly watch a music video they had co-produced. When they arrived, Simmons aggressively removed her clothes. She claims she asked Ratner for help, but he did not respond. “I’ll never forget the look on his face,” said Khalighi. “In that moment, the realization fell on me that they were in it together.”
She fought off the attempt at sexual intercourse, but Simmons coerced her into oral sex. “I guess I just acquiesced,” she said. When finished, she went to take a shower. Simmons joined her in the shower and briefly penetrated her before she managed to fend him off.
Simmons claimed in the Times story that all acts were consensual. (Read his entire statement below.)
“I know Keri Claussen Khalighi and remember the weekend in 1991 that she has referenced,” Simmons said in a statement. “Everything that happened between us 26 years ago was completely consensual and with Keri’s full participation. Let me be crystal clear and very direct. Abusing women in any way shape or form violates the very core of my being. I have always spoken out regarding my life experiences, women’s issues and the need to bring a faster and more decisive shift in the collective consciousness that will help bring about true women’s equality.”
The Times story quoted Ratner’s attorney, Marty Singer, as saying his client has “no recollection” of any requests for help by Khalighi. Ratner has previously been accused of sexual misconduct by several women, among them actresses Natasha Henstridge and Olivia Munn.
Ratner and Simmons were investigated in 2001 for an alleged sexual battery in 2001 by Beverly Hills, Calif. police, but no charges were brought.
Here is Simmons’ statement:
As a long-time social activist, I have applauded the strength of the brave men and women who have spoken out over the past month and made their voices heard regarding sexual assault and harassment. I am a supporter of the #MeToo campaign and the victims who were previously terrified to stand up and speak out against sexual misconduct. I completely and unequivocally deny the horrendous allegations of non-consensual sex against me with every fiber of my being.
I know Keri Claussen Khalighi and remember the weekend in 1991 that she has referenced. Everything that happened between us 26 years ago was completely consensual and with Keri’s full participation. We spent time in my apartment over a period of two days and one night, as well as at some public places including Nell’s Nightclub. Much of the time we were in the presence of other acquaintances. I’m deeply saddened and truly shocked to learn of Keri’s assertions as to what happened over the course of that weekend.
Let me be crystal clear and very direct. Abusing women in any way shape or form violates the very core of my being. I have always spoken out regarding my life experiences, women’s issues and the need to bring a faster and more decisive shift in the collective consciousness that will help bring about true women’s equality. More than anything, I want my daughters to live in a more equal world and a world where they will not become victims of sexual harassment.
The LA Times article also references an allegation by Ms. Tanya Reid. I mean no disrespect to her at all when I say I honestly do not recall my telephone conversation with a hotel front desk clerk from over a quarter-century ago.