Russell Simmons is regarded in many circles as a hip-hop pioneer, elder statesman and cultural trailblazer. But Simmons may be facing Cosby or Weinstein levels of career damage based on two new sexual assault claims facing him.
Early Sunday, the Los Angeles Times published a shocking and detailed account of a model named Keri Claussen Khalighi who claimed Simmons sexually assaulted her when she was 17-years old. Simmons denied the claims via statement but has not confirmed or denied if Khalighi was 17 at the time.
After the Times report and Simmons’ response, actor Terry Crews weighed in with some additional allegations, claiming Simmons asked him to give a pass to an agent who groped him in 2016 without consent.
“Message Russell Simmons sent to me regarding my sexual assault case against Adam Venit of @WME:” Crews tweeted. The tweet also included a screen capture of an alleged email from Simmons to Crews with the following:
“Did he ever apologize” “Give the agent a pass” “Ask that he be reinstated”
“With great love, all things are possible”
Crews initially brought the allegations against Venit to light in early October, without specifically naming Venit. Crews said the multiple allegations against Harvey Weinstein triggered his PTSD. In a series of tweets, Crews revealed a “high-level Hollywood executive” groped him in front of his wife without consent at a 2016 industry event.
As for Simmons, his statement denying nonconsensual contact with Khalighi specifically mentioned the toxic culture that often keeps sexual assault victims silent.
Statement of Russell Simmons in Response to LA Times Article. pic.twitter.com/iwT7Wy3SoY— Russell Simmons (@UncleRUSH) November 19, 2017
“As a long-time social activist, I have applauded the strength of the brave men and women who have spoken out over the past month and made their voices heard regarding sexual assault and harassment,” Simmons’ statement read in part. “I am a supporter of the #MeToo campaign and the victims who were previously terrified to stand up and speak out against sexual misconduct.”
Simmons has not directly responded to Crews’ claims.