Def Jam founder Russell Simmons and director Brett Ratner are now facing new allegations of sexual assault and misconduct, with Simmons being accused of forcing himself on a 17-year-old model while Ratner watched. Keri Claussen Khalighi alleges that she met the two men at a casting call and accompanied them to dinner in 1991, soon going back to Simmons’ apartment to watch a music video the two had been working on — Ratner was a music video director at the time.
It was there that she claims Simmons began to make “aggressive sexual advances” as he proceeded to take off her clothes according to the LA Times:
“I looked over at Brett and said ‘help me’ and I’ll never forget the look on his face,” she recalled. “In that moment, the realization fell on me that they were in it together.”
Khalighi said that Simmons, who was then about twice her age, tried to force her to have intercourse. “I fought it wildly,” she said. He eventually relented and coerced her to perform oral sex, she alleged. “I guess I just acquiesced.”
Ratner, meanwhile, “just sat there and watched,” she said.
Feeling “disgusting,” Khalighi said she went to take a shower. Minutes later, she alleged, Simmons walked up behind her in the shower and briefly penetrated her without her consent. She said she jerked away, then he left. “It hurt so much.”
Simmons and Ratner both denied the allegations, with the Def Jam mogul confirming with the LA Times that he shared an encounter with Khalighi, but that it was with her “full consent and participation.” Ratner also claimed he had no memory of being asked for helped and denied seeing her “protest” through a statement from his attorney.
A former assistant of Simmons provided his view of the situation in a signed statement provided to the LA Times by the Def Jam mogul’s attorney:
Anthony “Mac” McNair, who said he saw Khalighi go to Simmons’ bedroom “on her own volition and without any coercion or undue influence.” McNair said the group also went out to a nightclub later that evening. McNair said he saw Khalighi at Simmons’ house the next day — an assertion affirmed by Simmons — and did not notice “any visible signs of distress or that anything improper had occurred.” Simmons’ attorney provided two additional anonymous statements from people who said Khalighi showed no signs of distress during the weekend.
Khalighi says she felt the need to go public with her story after the initial LA Times report on Ratner’s behavior alleged by Olivia Munn, Natasha Henstridge, and four other actresses. She contacted Simmons according to the LA Times, urged him to disclose the encounter, claimed that he did not deny her claims before apologizing.
She also reportedly confronted Ratner with her story 15 years ago after running into him in LA:
“He listened and he un-defensively acknowledged the truth of what had happened,” Khalighi recalled. “He said he was young and stupid and blinded by Russell’s sway over him.”
Publicly, Ratner and Simmons are currently denying the allegations against them, something Khalighi says prompted her to speak out in contrast to them asserting “the women who come forward are liars.” Ratner was forced to cut ties with Warner Bros over the allegations against him and faced criticism for his possible future involvement in the Wonder Woman films.
The LA Times report extensively covers other allegations against Ratner and can be read here.
(Via LA Times)