Def Jam Records mogul Russell Simmons has penned an essay in response to an allegation from a model that he sexually assaulted her in 1991, reiterating that the relationship was consensual and not violent.
Model Keri Claussen Khalighi alleges Simmons coerced her to perform a sex act and later penetrated her without her consent in his New York apartment. Simmons has disputed her account.
Simmons expanded on his position in The Hollywood Reporter on Wednesday, saying his “loathing of any form of violence and abuse has been woven into all of my personal interactions.” He suggested that Khalighi’s accusation came from feeling shame.
Simmons writes that he “never committed any acts of aggression or violence in my life” or would “never knowingly cause fear or harm to anyone.”
He added: “For any women from my past who I may have offended, I sincerely apologize. I am still evolving.”
Read the statement in part below:
“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.”