Days after accusing music mogul Russell Simmons of sexual assault in a detailed Los Angeles Times report, model Keri Claussen Khalighi appeared on "Megyn Kelly Today" Wednesday to shed more light on what she called the "terrifying moment" and why it has taken her years to tell her story.
Khalighi, now 43, said that she had dinner with Simmons and director Brett Ratner in New York City in 1991 when she was 17. The three of them went back to Simmons' apartment afterward, ostensibly to watch a music video, where Simmons coerced her to perform oral sex while Ratner watched, despite her pleas for help, she said.
"I fought it wildly," Khalighi told the Times.
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Simmons disputed her account in a statement to the Times, calling the interaction consensual, and Ratner's attorney said he had "no recollection" of her asking for help.
But Khalighi told Megyn Kelly "I'll never forget the look on" Ratner's face, adding that she realized "there was no help that was gonna come."
She called it a "very confusing and terrifying moment."
Khalighi said that after it was over, she went to take a shower, where Simmons penetrated her without her consent.
She told Kelly that the fact she stayed after the initial assault is "really important to talk about."
"I didn't run out. I stayed and I took a shower, and an additional sexual assault happened there," Khalighi said, explaining that her story helps explain why "women don't speak out right away and why there's a lot of shame around these stories."
"I've learned … that there's a whole spectrum of variety of response" to assault, Khalighi said. "I certainly froze, and I certainly did what I could to normalize what was an incredibly hard-to-process situation. It's hard to process all of that in the moment as a 17-year-old, really at any age. It took me years to process this experience. … There's a lot of guilt and shame involved."
Simmons' statement to the Times said that "everything that happened between us 26 years ago was completely consensual and with Keri's full participation."
"I completely and unequivocally deny the horrendous allegations of non-consensual sex against me with every fiber of my being," Simmons said. "I'm deeply saddened and truly shocked to learn of Keri's assertions as to what happened over the course of that weekend."
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."
Khalighi called Simmons's description of a "consensual" interaction "ludicrous," adding that the two have talked privately about what happened.
"He actually apologized," she said, adding that "what's so confusing and re-traumatizing" is that the private talk was "completely different than what's come out publicly."
Ratner has not commented publicly on Khalighi's latest comments.
Khalighi is not the only woman accusing Ratner of misconduct. At least 14 women have come forward, with actress Olivia Munn telling the Times in a Nov. 1 report that Ratner masturbated in front of her on the set of one of his movies in 2004. Through his lawyer, Ratner has denied Munn's claim and all others.