A woman has accused music mogul Russell Simmons of sexually assaulting her in 1991, and she says movie producer Brett Ratner watched the incident happen and didn't try to stop it. In a bombshell Los Angeles Times report, Keri Claussen Khalighi says she met Simmons and Ratner at a casting call when she was just 17 years old. At the time Simmons was the head of Def Jam records and Ratner an up-and-coming music video director. One night they invited Khalighi to dinner and then back to Simmons' New York apartment to watch a music video the two men had worked on. Once there, Khalighi alleges, Simmons ripped her clothes off and tried to force her to have sex while Ratner watched, even as Khalighi tried to fight Simmons off and asked Ratner for help. Khalighi eventually acquiesced to performing oral sex. While she took a shower afterwards, Simmons penetrated her without consent.
Simmons has disputed Khalighi's account, saying in a statement, “Everything that occurred between Keri and me occurred with her full consent and participation.” And Ratner has said through his attorney that he has "no recollection" of Khalighi asking him for help or witnessing her "protest." But the Times story alleges that Simmons and Ratner, who has been accused by four other women of sexual assault in recent weeks, created an atmosphere of sexual entitlement throughout the decades of the relationship, enabling mistreatment of women alongside friends like director James Toback, who has already been accused of sexual misconduct by hundreds of women in the movie industry.