Russell Simmons denies sexual assault allegations in new statement

The Def Jam Recordings co-founder also shared a signed witness document.

November 22, 2017
Russell Simmons denies sexual assault allegations in new statement Russell Simmons at Barnes & Noble Tribeca in New York City. March 5, 2014.   Photo by Rob Kim/Getty Images

Russell Simmons has issued a new statement to The Hollywood Reporter denying accusations of sexual harassment and assault. It is the second denial Simmons has issued since The Los Angeles Times's report accusing the Def Jam Recordings co-founder of sexually assaulting Keri Claussen Khalighi in 1991. Simmons claims their experiences together were consensual.

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After opening his letter celebrating the "powerful and wrenching shift of consciousness" sparked by the near-daily allegations of sexual assault committed by powerful men, Simmons denies "[committing] any acts of aggression or violence in my life." He also shares a document signed by three alleged witnesses who deny Khalighi's claims.

Simmons goes on to admit to "cavalier and thoughtless" statements to women in the past. "I am a work in progress," he writes. "I am human. The fact that I come from the world of music or a specific place or generation justifies nothing.”

The new statement comes on the same day as Khalighi's appearance on Megyn Kelly Today. "I certainly froze, and I certainly did what I could to normalize what was an incredibly hard to process situation," she told the show's host. Khalighi also alleged that she and Simmons had discussed their encounter last year in West Hollywood, and that Simmons gave her a "really touching, remorseful apology."

Simmons's attorney told The Hollywood Reporter the apology was given not for her specific allegations, but in the “context for the embarrassment and upheaval the weekend caused her."

Read his full statement at The Hollywood Reporter.

Russell Simmons denies sexual assault allegations in new statement