Russell Simmons Responds to Claims He Sexually Assaulted Model Alongside Brett Ratner

Russell Simmons has issued a statement in response to a Los Angeles Times expose in which model Keri Claussen Khalighi alleged he sexually assaulted her when she was 17 while Brett Ratner watched, The Wrap reports.

The Def Jam producer confirmed that he and the model were sexually involved in 1991, but that everything was "completely consensual."

"We spend time in my apartment over a period of two days and one night, as well as at some public places, including Nell's Nightclub," Simmons said in a statement.

"Much of the time we were in the presence of other acquaintances. I'm deeply saddened and truly shocked to learn of Keri's assertions as to what happened over the course of that weekend," Simmons added.

In the piece, Khalighi said Simmons invited her to dinner with Ratner, who was Simmons' protégé at the time. She alleges Simmons took her back to his apartment to show her a music video they were working on, but he made aggressive advances toward her once they arrived.

She continued on to say that she struggled as Simmons took her clothes off, eventually giving in and providing oral sex.

"I looked over at Brett and said 'help me' and I'll never forget the look on his face," she remembered. "In that moment, the realization fell on me that they were in it together."

The article also detailed the producers' long relationship together, which was investigated by authorities in 2001, when a woman claimed she was sexually abused and held against her will at Ratner's home in Beverly Hills.

Simmons claims he has been a longtime champion of women's rights.

"Abusing women in any way, shape or form violates the very core of my being," Simmons said.


"I have always spoken out regarding my life experiences, women's issues and the need to bring a faster and more decisive shift in the collective consciousness that will help bring about true women's equality. More than anything, I want my daughters to live in a more equal world where they will not become victims of sexual harassment," Simmons added.

Several other women have come forward with allegations against Brett Ratner, who continues to deny any wrongdoing.