Music mogul Russell Simmons’ sexual assault accuser is disgusted by his “ludicrous” statement of denial because he allegedly apologized for his actions in private.
Former model Keri Claussen Khalighi went public with her story in a Los Angeles Times expose on Sunday (19Nov17), claiming the Def Jam Recordings co-founder forced the then-17-year-old to perform oral sex on him after inviting her to his New York apartment to watch a music video he had produced with his filmmaker pal Brett Ratner back in 1991.
Keri, now 43, alleged she made it clear she wasn’t interested in a romantic relationship with Simmons, but he reportedly ignored her protests.
Simmons, who also stands accused of assaulting Keri a second time later the same night, told the Times he remembers the weekend in question, but insisted the sex acts the model described were “completely consensual and with Keri’s full participation”.
His comments have infuriated the model, because she reveals they have previously addressed the incident both in person and over the phone, and Simmons said sorry.
“I don’t even know what to say about (him claiming) everything was consensual and I had full participation,” Keri tells Megyn Kelly. “I almost don’t even wanna speak against that, because it’s ludicrous…
“Russell and I have actually had a face-to-face confrontation around this, we’ve had phone conversations, where there was no dispute about what we were taking about… and he actually apologized,” she continued.
Keri, who is pregnant and due to give birth to her third daughter next week (27Nov17), admits the new controversy has been “so confusing and re-traumatizing”, adding, “What he’s speaking about privately with me is completely different than what’s come out publicly (sic). That’s the piece that’s been really, really upsetting and disappointing, and, quite honestly, just repugnant with hypocrisy and the lies and the denial.”
The retired model acknowledges she didn’t immediately flee the apartment at the time of the alleged attack because she “froze” in fear and tried to “normalise what was an incredibly hard-to-process situation”.
Keri explains she is only speaking out now because she’s finally found the strength to join the hundreds of other women who have made similar allegations of sexual misconduct against powerful men in the entertainment industry following the downfall of producer Harvey Weinstein, whose alleged behavior as a serial sexual predator was first exposed in a New York Times article in early October (17).
“This is not what I want to be doing right now… (but) I’m coming out now because I really, really think this is such an important empowerment revolution… that’s happening right now…,” she concluded. “I am bound and determined to make this environment better and safer and more empowered for my daughters and for the sons and daughters of the future generation, and it starts with conversations like this.”