Since the nationwide purge of shitty entertainment industry men doesn’t pause for the weekend, Russell Simmons recently became the latest powerful figure to field sexual assault allegations. On Sunday, November 19, the Los Angeles Times published a new report in which two women accused the Def Jam co-founder of sexual assault and harassment. The piece outlines his disturbing relationship with alleged serial abuser Brett Ratner, who both women claim aided his efforts.
Ratner, who was a prodigy of sorts to Simmons, made it his job to set him up with as many models as possible. Simmons revealed as much in his 2007 book, Do You!: 12 Laws to Access the Power in You to Achieve Happiness and Success (per the L.A. Times): “After he hung around a bit and figured out that I liked models, then he made it his business to take me to every model’s apartment he could find.”
One woman, actress Keri Claussen Khalighi, tells the L.A. Times that Simmons forced oral sex on her in 1991 while Ratner watched and ignored her pleas for help. She also alleges that minutes after the first incident, Simmons walked in the shower and briefly penetrated her without consent. Khalighi was 17 at the time, and Simmons was twice her age. The mogul disputed her account, and told the L.A. Times: “Everything that occurred between Keri and me occurred with her full consent and participation.”
Tanya Reid, who was an 18-year-old aspiring model in 1994, claimed Simmons and Ratner sexually assaulted her in a South Beach, Florida hotel where she worked at the front desk. Simmons and Ratner were staying at the hotel and told her they were casting models for a new music video. One time, Simmons called down to the desk and asked her “to come upstairs so Brett could hold me down and he could [perform oral sex].” On a separate occasion, she claims Ratner called her up to the room and forced oral sex on her. Both Ratner and Simmons claimed they didn’t remember Reid or the incident, perhaps because there are too many to keep track of.
After the L.A. Times story broke on Sunday, Terry Crews posted an email with Simmons to Twitter, in which the mogul told him to let executive Adam Venit, who assaulted Crews, off the hook. “Did he ever apologize. Give the agent a pass. Ask that he be reinstated. With great love, all things are possible,” Simmons wrote.
With love—and a broad network of alleged abusers working to cover each other’s tracks—all things are possible.