Explosive Sexual Harassment & Assault Allegations Against Russell Simmons (and Brett Ratner) Lead to Simmons Resigning from His Companies

On November 19, LA Times reported that back in 1991 Russell Simmons, the Def Jam Recordings co-founder and Brett Ratner, a then-upcoming film, TV, and music video director sexually assaulted a 17-year-old model named Keri Clausen Khalighi. A few days later, Russell Simmons was accused of another case of sexual conduct which propelled him to step down from his companies. Here is what we know about the allegations :

1/ Khalighi was wined and dined by Simmons and Ratner before they took her back to Simmons’ apartment to “show her a music video” that they were both working on. Khalighi alleges that Simmons then began making sexually aggressive moves towards her including pulling off her clothes. Khalighi summoned Ratner for help but by the look on his face, she quickly realized Simmons and Ratner were cohorts. Simmons proceeded to try and force her to have sex with him but she “fought it wildly”. When Simmons forced her to perform oral sex on him, she gave in while Ratner watched.

Afterwards, Khalighi went to take a shower because she said she felt disgusting. While in the shower, she alleges that Simmons came up behind her and “briefly penetrated” her before she pushed him away. Both Simmons and Ratner deny details of Khalighi’s story, claiming that they had her full consent and participation (though Khalighi claims that she’s received private apologies from both men regarding their sexual misconduct.) She said she came public with the claims because she didn’t like the incongruence between the men’s private apologies and what they were sharing publicly with the media.

2/ Tanya Reid, an aspiring model, tells a disturbing tale of crossing paths with the duo in 1994 while working the desk at a hotel. Simmons called the front desk and asked her to come up so Brett could hold her down while he performed oral sex on her. Another time, Ratner asked her to his room where he had pictures of models spread out on the bed. He asked if she wanted to be a model in one of his upcoming music videos and she said yes. She then gave him her phone number. A few days later he came over to her apartment and exposed himself while forcing her hand on his penis. He then asked for oral sex. She initially declined but eventually gave in when he pushed her head against his penis. After the incident, Ratner left and Reid never heard from him again.Though Ratner denies this ever happened, because of the flood of sexual harassment allegations coming out against him, Warner Bros. has said they were severing ties with him. 

3/ The latest claim against Simmons came out a week ago. Jenny Lumet, a screenwriter, claims that Simmons coerced her into having sex with him in 1991. Though he denies being violent, he did release an apology for making her feel fearful or intimidated. He then said he was going to remove himself from his companies so as not to be a distraction. 

What do you think of these allegations?

*image by Coco Curranski

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