Russell Simmons issues another statement addressing those harassment allegations.
Allegations of sexual harassment and/or misconduct have dominated the entertainment industry headlines for what feels like forever now. Many men who have achieved high levels of success have seen their careers vanish seemingly overnight and, last weekend, Russell Simmons' name was added to that group of supposed offenders.
According to our previous report, Keri Claussen Khalighi says she met Simmons and Brett Ratner at a casting call during the time in her career when she was a model, in 1991. Khalighi says that, after a dinner where both men were present, Simmons made "aggressive sexual advances" towards her later in the evening while back at his apartment, attempting to "yank" off her clothes. Despite looking to him for help, Khalighi says Ratner did nothing to stop Simmons' actions.
Now, it's clear that Simmons isn't staying silent on the issue any longer. In a long statement he penned for The Hollywood Reporter, he unequivocally denies those claims, insisting that he's never been violent towards anyone. Check out an excerpt from his statement below:
"Humanity is going through a powerful and wrenching shift of consciousness that I believe will ultimately lead to a mass awakening in all humankind. Like all lasting change, this transition is filled with painful disruption and confrontation against an entrenched system. It may sound odd to some that I am encouraged about this time in our history, but I am. The daily news detailing the growing number of experiences of women being victimized are being brought to the light. I do not doubt that the vast majority of the allegations these brave survivors are sharing are true and dignified. I see their stories giving a voice to the voiceless, which has been the central theme of my life’s journey.
"In my case, three witnesses [Anthony McNair and two anonymous witnesses] 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. In our meeting many years later, and subsequent conversations, Keri never accused me of what she has said publicly. She insisted I was not violent. 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.
"I have made choices that have offended some of the women in my life. It’s not cool to be a playboy and a new consciousness understands this. Now, as I hear these voices, I do as well. Though never abusive in any way, my remarks were often cavalier and thoughtless, and for this I am humbled. I am a work in progress. I am human. The fact that I come from the world of music or a specific place or generation justifies nothing [...]"
Do you think the statement will help restore some faith in Simmons? Or is it much ado about nothing at this point? Let us know in the comments.