Music producer Russell Simmons is the latest celebrity to be faced with allegations of sexual misconduct. On Sunday, model Keri Claussen Khalighi alleged that Simmons sexually assaulted her in 1991 when she was 17-years old, while beleaguered film director Brett Ratner watched. Simmons vehemently denied the claim.
According to Khalighi, she looked to Ratner for help when the assault began and at that moment "the realization fell on me that they were in it together." Simmons has responded to allegations, which were reported in the Los Angeles Times, in a Facebook post.
"I completely and unequivocally deny the horrendous allegations of non-consensual sex against me with every fiber of my being," the mogul wrote. Simmons said that he does recall the weekend in 1991 that he spent with Khalighi, but "everything that happened between us 26 years ago was completely consensual and with Keri's full participation." He went on to detail public outings together with other people present.
"Let me be crystal clear and very direct. Abusing women in any way shape or form violates the very core of my being," Simmons wrote. "I want my daughters to live in a more equal world and a world where they will not become victims of sexual harassment.
Khalighi alleges that she was invited back to Simmons' apartment to view a video he and Ratner had been working on. Once there, she alleges Simmons assaulted her in Ratner's presence, coercing her into oral sex, and then assaulted her again in the shower afterward.
"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," Simmons wrote "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."
Read Simmons' full statement below:
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