Russell Simmons sexual assault accuser says he apologised to her privately

Keri Claussen Khalighi on Megyn Kelly. NBC
  • Former model Keri Claussen Khalighi told “Megyn Kelly Today” that Russell Simmons had “privately” apologised to her after allegedly sexually assaulting her in 1991.
  • Khalighi alleged to the Los Angeles Times on Monday that Simmons forced her to perform oral sex and later intercourse when she was 17.
  • Simmons publicly denied the allegations, telling the Times that the acts occurred with Khalighi’s “full consent.”

Former model Keri Claussen Khalighi told NBC’s Megyn Kelly on Wednesday that hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons had “privately” apologised to her after allegedly sexually assaulting her, despite his public insistence that her allegations of sexual assault from 1991 represented a consensual act.

“Russell and I have actually had a face-to-face confrontation around this. We’ve had phone conversations where we’ve had a conversation about what happened, where there was no dispute of what we were talking about,” Khalighi told Kelly in a live interview. “And he actually apologised,” she added.

Brett ratner russell simmons
Brett Ratner and Russell Simmons. Kevin Winter/Getty

Khalighi told The Los Angeles Times last week that Simmons sexually assaulted her in his apartment in 1991 when she was 17. She said Simmons forced her to perform oral sex and later intercourse while filmmaker Brett Ratner was present.

In response to Khalighi’s allegations, Simmons told the Times, “Everything that occurred between Keri and me occurred with her full consent and participation.” He later wrote on his website, “I completely and unequivocally deny the horrendous allegations of nonconsensual sex against me with every fibre of my being.”

In the Times story on Monday, Khalighi said Simmons made a “really touching, remorseful apology” to her at the Soho House in West Hollywood last year.

“He knew what he had done; I knew what he had done,” she said. “That’s also why it was so vindicating, because it was there, acknowledged.”

Simmons’ attorney Brad D. Rose told the Times that Simmons’ apology was not in response to his alleged misconduct, but rather in the “context for the embarrassment and upheaval the weekend caused her” related to her “infidelity.”

Simmons doubled down on his account in an article for The Hollywood Reporter on Wednesday, linking to three signed statements from witnesses saying that his experiences with Khalighi were “consensual.” He wrote, “In our meeting many years later, and subsequent conversations, Keri never accused me of what she has said publicly.”

Khalighi, however, has disputed Simmons’ account of their subsequent meeting. She elaborated on the apology in her interview with Kelly on Wednesday, saying that Simmons’ public statements did not align with the private conversation she had with him regarding the allegations.

“Part of what’s so confusing and re-traumatising is that what he’s speaking about privately with me is completely different from what’s come out publicly,” Khalighi said. “That’s the piece that’s been, quite honestly, repugnant with hypocrisy, and the lies, and the denial.”

Watch the interview below: