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Russell Simmons Says Keri Claussen Khalighi ‘Never Accused Me Of What She Has Said Publicly’

Comedy News

In response to allegations of sexual misconduct, music mogul Russell Simmons said a 1991 encounter with then-17-year-old model Keri Claussen Khalighi was “consensual.”

Khalighi told The Times that Simmons made aggressive sexual advances toward her in 1991 at his apartment and tried to force her to have intercourse. Simmons eventually relented and coerced her to perform oral sex as his protege at the time, Brett Ratner, “just sat there and watched,” Khalighi alleged to The Times.

Simmons, the co-founder of Def Jam Recordings, said in a letter published Wednesday in the Hollywood Reporter that Khalighi, in subsequent conversations and in a meeting many years later, “never accused me of what she has said publicly.”

“She insisted I was not violent,” he said in the letter. “She did tell me her boyfriend and many others found out about our long weekend together and she said she was ashamed by that discovery. I am sorry for the embarrassment she recounted to me.”

Simmons previously disputed Khalighi’s account in a statement released to The Times, saying, “Everything that occurred between Keri and me occurred with her full consent and participation.”

Simmons said in the Wednesday letter that three witnesses, including his then-assistant Anthony McNair and two anonymous individuals, have signed statements that “our experiences that weekend with Keri Claussen Khalighi 26 years ago were consensual.”

“My longtime loathing of any form of violence and abuse has been woven into all of my personal interactions, as most who know me will attest,” Simmons says in the letter. “I would never knowingly cause fear or harm to anyone.”

In a Wednesday interview on “Megyn Kelly Today,” Khalighi said she and Simmons “have had a face-to-face about what happened, where there was no dispute about what happened.”

“He actually apologized,” she said in the interview. “Part of what’s so confusing and retraumatizing is what he’s speaking about privately with me is completely different than what has come out publicly.”

Source: Los Angeles Times

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