CONTENT WARNING: This article discusses sexual assault.

Def Jam Recordings cofounder Russell Simmons and his Hollywood protegé Brett Ratner have been accused of working in tandem to sexually assault women, according to a new raft of allegations made against the powerful duo.

Keri Claussen Khalighi told the Los Angeles Times that when she was a 17-year-old model in 1991, she met the pair at a casting call. At the time, Ratner was still a music video director who was building influence in the industry through his close ties with Simmons.

She states the pair invited her to Simmons’ home to show her part of a clip they had been working on. It was there Simmons forcefully tried to remove her clothes, Kalighi said.

While Simmons was allegedly making those unwanted sexual advances, Khalighi said she asked Ratner for help.

“I’ll never forget the look on his face,” she said.

“In that moment, the realization fell on me that they were in it together.”

Ratner “sat there and watched,” Khalighi said, before the record label owner stopped his forceful advances and asked her for oral sex. She said “I guess I just acquiesced.”

Khalighi states that while she took a shower after the incident, Simmons approached her from behind and penetrated her. She recoiled, and Simmons left.

In a statement to the newspaper, Simmons said all of his interactions with Khalighi were consensual, saying “I’m deeply saddened and truly shocked to learn of Keri’s assertions as to what happened over the course of that weekend.”

“Let me be crystal clear and very direct. Abusing women in any way shape or form violates the very core of my being,” Simmons added.

However, Khalighi said she spoke to Simmons a year ago about the alleged incident. She states he apologised for his actions, and “he knew what he had done; I knew what he had done.”

She said she chose to share her story now as “what I’ve experienced privately is not matching what they are saying publicly,” adding “hypocrisy to me is repugnant and it’s time for the truth to come out.”

Simmons’ attorney Brad D. Rose acknowledged Simmons apologised for their interaction in 1991, but only because it constituted what Simmons describes as an embarrassing episode of infidelity. Khalighi said that’s not the case.

Ratner’s attorney also denied Khalighi’s account of the 1991 incident, saying his client had “no recollection” of being asked to intervene.

Ratner also stands accused of sexual misconduct by many Hollywood figures including Olivia Munn and Natasha Hendridge.

You can read the full report, which includes another alleged incidence of the pair conspiring to commit an act of sexual misconduct, right HERE.


This article discusses sexual assault & harassment. If you would like to talk to a counsellor about rape, sexual assault or domestic violence, give the people over at 1800 RESPECT a call on 1800 737 732.

Source: Los Angeles Times
Image: Johnny Nunez / Getty