sexual assault

Russell Simmons Allegedly Assaulted a Young Model While Brett Ratner Watched

As more prominent women continue to come forward to allege director and producer Brett Ratner has a chilling history of sexual harassment, a new feature in the Los Angeles Times takes it one step further: Ratner and his friend, Russell Simmons, have a decades-long history of coercing women into sex. Speaking with the Times, former fashion model Keri Claussen Khalighi alleges this happened to her in 1991, when she was 17-years-old and just starting out in the industry. Specifically, the duo invited her over to Simmons’s apartment under the guise of showing her a music video, but Simmons immediately began “making aggressive sexual advances” and “yanking off her clothes” when they got through the door. “I looked over at Brett and said ‘help me’ and I’ll never forget the look on his face,” Khalighi recalled. “In that moment, the realization fell on me that they were in it together.” While she tried to fight off Simmons’s advances for intercourse, Khalighi ended up giving him oral sex. “I guess I just acquiesced,” she said, noting that Ratner “just sat there and watched.”

However, when Khalighi took a shower afterward, the coercion turned to assault: She alleges Simmons “walked up behind her in the shower and briefly penetrated her without her consent.” Simmons has denied Khalighi’s account of what transpired that evening, saying all activities had her “full consent and participation.” The Times reports, though, that the two had a chance meeting last year, and Simmons “poured his heart out in a really touching, remorseful apology” for his behavior — although his lawyer claims the apology was due to Khalighi’s “infidelity” and “embarrassment” as opposed to his specific actions. Additionally, Simmons says that Khalighi’s claim “does a disservice to those who have been true victims of sexual harassment.”

Report: Russell Simmons Assaulted Model While Ratner Watched