Entrepreneur Russell Simmons and film producer Brett Ratner have been accused of teaming up to allegedly sexually harass and assault women, according to news reports.
On Sunday, the Los Angeles Times reported young models accusing Simmons and Ratner of getting together to sexually assault women.
Keri Claussen Khalighi claimed that when she was a fashion model aged 17, she met Ratner and Simmons at a casting call, reports hollywoodreporter.com.
After dinner one night in 1991, they took her back to Simmons’ apartment, apparently to show her a music video they had been working on, she told the publishing house.
But Simmons began making aggressive sexual advances and tore off her clothes, Khalighi claims.
Khalighi also said Simmons then tried to force her to have intercourse, which she “fought… wildly.”
In a statement, Simmons denied the accusations and said Khalighi’s claim “does a disservice to those who have been true victims of sexual harassment”.
“Let me be crystal clear and very direct. Abusing women in any way, shape or form violates the very core of my being. I completely and unequivocally deny the horrendous allegations of non-consensual sex against me with every fibre of my being,” he said.
Ratner, meanwhile, via his attorney Martin Singer, has disputed the accounts of sexual misconduct he has faced from at least 10 other women.
Khalighi also tried reaching out to Simmons after the Los Angeles Times newspaper posted its story on November 1 about Ratner, and said she was considering telling her story. He called her and they spoke for 27 minutes, according to the phone records reviewed.
She said during that call, he didn’t deny any of her claims but apologized and mentioned that he is the father of two daughters.
“They are publicly denying these allegations, which implies that the women who come forward are liars. So I’m coming out because what I’ve experienced privately is not matching what they are saying publicly and hypocrisy to me is repugnant and it’s time for the truth to come out,” she added.
Former aspiring model Tanya Reid and Entourage actress Jaymee Ong, have also accused Ratner of assaulting and groping them in the past.
Actress Sarah Shahi, who has starred on the TV shows Life and Person of Interest, said that on the set of Rush Hour 3, Ratner, who directed the film, on multiple occasions approached her from behind, thrust his groin against her and made graphic sexual comments. She tried to shun his advances.
The actress told casting director Michelle Lewitt Kehl about the experience shortly after it occurred, with Kehl confirming Shahi’s account, and Shahi claims other actors, including star Jackie Chan, witnessed the encounters.