High-powered music and movie mogul, Russell Simmons is facing allegations of sexual assault that dates back to 1991. Russell Simmons’ accuser is Keri Claussen Khalighi.
Def Jam Recordings founder, Russell Simmons has been accused of sexual assault by Keri Claussen. She also accused Brett Ratner of watching and doing nothing to help her. While the Twitterverse is not surprised that Simmons is accused of sexual harassment, they are curious about his accuser. Find out about her in our Keri Claussen wiki, right here.
#1. She’s an Angel
Keri Sue Claussen hailed from a farm town in Nebraska and went on to walk on the biggest runways in the world. Signed with premiere modeling agencies like Next, Chic, ModelWerk, and Flair, she has been modeling since the age of 15.
In the ‘90s, she walked in shows for some of the biggest brands in fashion, from Hervé Léger and Karl Lagerfeld to Christian Dior, Max Mara, Mulberry, and everything in between.
But nothing beats the biggest runway in fashion like the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. She walked in the first Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show back in 1995 before it became a televised event, and again in 1998 and 1999. One of her VS looks became famous today for reminding everyone of Regina George’s prom dress from Mean Girls.
— infowe (@infowe) November 19, 2017
#2. She’s Married
The 43-year-old married Iranian-born actor, Amir Khalighi in October this year. He was previously married to a woman named Stephanie Bergman before they divorced in 2014. Claussen is stepmother to Khalighi’s child with Bergman, and is currently 38 weeks pregnant with his second child.
After the Iranian Revolution, Khalighi headed west to pursue a career in acting. Starting at the age of 17, he garnered few but critically acclaimed theater credits with productions like A Hatful of Rain. His success on TV has been limited to minor roles and stunt performances.
In one claimed situation, Simmons is alleged to have assaulted model Keri Claussen Khalighi, then 17, while Ratner watched and did not intervene. Both men denied this occurred. pic.twitter.com/d861glSlJm
— Daniel Miller (@DanielNMiller) November 19, 2017
#3. She Met Simmons When She Was 17
The former model told the Los Angeles Times, who first broke the story, that she was a 17-year-old modeling upstart when she met music and movie mogul, Russell Simmons. At that time, Brett Ratner was a rising music video director who Simmons took under his wing.
Claussen’s first encounter with Simmons and Ratner was for a casting call in 1991, when the alleged incident of sexual misconduct took place. They took her to dinner at a restaurant in New York, then to Simmons’ apartment to show her a music video they were working on.
#4. Simmons Allegedly Forced Sex on Her
When they arrived at Simmons’ apartment, she alleged that he began making aggressive sexual advances at her before stripping off her clothes. Simmons was 35 years old then, twice her age.
She claimed he tried to force sex on her. “I fought it wildly,” she said, but eventually relented and agreed to perform oral sex on him. “I guess I just acquiesced,” said Claussen.
Sees why Russell Simmons is trending… I mean kimora was 17 and he was 35 sooo…. pic.twitter.com/cjlHUSLo8v
— DKT (@darleneturner53) November 19, 2017
Feeling “disgusting,” she retreated to the bathroom. While she was taking a shower, Simmons allegedly entered the bathroom, walked up behind her, and briefly penetrated her without her consent. When she jerked away, he left.
In a statement, Simmons disputed her account of the events saying, “Everything that occurred between Keri and me occurred with her full consent and participation.”
However, the Twitterverse is not buying his excuse. Simmons courted his now ex-wife, Kimora Lee when she was a 17-year-old model herself, and Twitteratti is using it against him. They also claim that it doesn’t matter if it was consensual, because she was a minor and he was an adult in a high-powered position. Terry Crews, who alleged big shot Hollywood agent Adam Venit groped him, also slammed Simmons for telling him to drop the charges against the agent.
Message Russell Simmons sent to me regarding my sexual assault case against Adam Venit of @WME:
NO ONE GETS A PASS pic.twitter.com/DmEvqWVxkc
— terrycrews (@terrycrews) November 19, 2017
#5 She Accused Brett Ratner, Too
According to Clausen, when Simmons took off her clothes, she expected Ratner to help her. “I looked over at Brett and said ‘help me’ and I’ll never forget the look on his face,” she narrated to the LA Times. “In that moment, the realization fell on me that they were in it together.”
She alleged that Ratner “just sat there and watched,” while she was coerced into performing oral sex on Simmons. Ratner, through his attorney, claims he has “no recollection” of Khalighi asking him for help and denied witnessing her “protest.”
The filmmaker has been accused of sexual misconduct by several women, including Olivia Munn and Natasha Henstridge. Though he disputes their claims too, the accusations led to Warner Bros severing ties with the disgraced filmmaker and even Gal Gadot getting him booted off the next Wonder Woman movie.
Russell Simmons believes sex between a 30+ year old man and a 17 year old girl is consensual which is wrong. Also, Russell was in a role of power compared to Keri Claussen Khalighi therefore it wasn’t an equitable situation where consent was valid.
— Rashad (@BRashadBeal) November 19, 2017
Ratner and Simmons are in the headlines for sexual misconduct scandals, and have reportedly been on the radar of authorities for a while. Khalighi says she remembers the details of her encounter with Simmons and Ratner with vivid detail, though she’s tried hard to move past it. She told at least three people of the incident, including fellow model, Claudia Mason.
She even claims Simmons met her a year ago and apologized. “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.” But Simmons claims the apology was for a different reason.