*
Russell Simmons pens open letter further denying allegations of sexual assault

KC Orcutt

 // Nov 25, 2017

Paul Archuleta // Getty Images

In the days that have followed allegations of sexual assault being made against Russell Simmons, the music mogul has continuously spoken out against the claims, all while expressing the seriousness of what he calls "a powerful and wrenching shift of consciousness" currently happening in Hollywood and the entertainment industry.

Most recently, Simmons has penned a lengthy letter further denying the allegations made against him by former model Keri Claussen Khalighi, during which he also elaborates on the incident in question.

Insider Access | Celebs get candid about how comedy has changed on Def Comedy Jam's 25th Anniversary Special's red carpet
REVOLT

"Humanity is going through a powerful and wrenching shift of consciousness that I believe will ultimately lead to a mass awakening in all humankind," Simmons' letter, which was published exclusively on the Hollywood Reporter, begins.

"Like all lasting change, this transition is filled with painful disruption and confrontation against an entrenched system," he writes. "It may sound odd to some that I am encouraged about this time in our history, but I am. The daily news detailing the growing number of experiences of women being victimized are being brought to the light. I do not doubt that the vast majority of the allegations these brave survivors are sharing are true and dignified. I see their stories giving a voice to the voiceless, which has been the central theme of my life's journey. I also know from recent painful personal experience that some recollections can be cast in a light away from the actual facts."

Simmons, now 60, goes on to address the alleged incident specifically, recalling past private conversations with the former model surrounding the long weekend they spent together back in 1991.

"In my case, three witnesses [Anthony McNair and two anonymous witnesses] have signed statements that our experiences that weekend with Keri Claussen Khalighi 26 years ago were consensual," the letter continues. "My longtime loathing of any form of violence and abuse has been woven into all of my personal interactions, as most who know me will attest. In our meeting many years later, and subsequent conversations, Keri never accused me of what she has said publicly. She insisted I was not violent. She did tell me her boyfriend and many others found out about our long weekend together and she said she was ashamed by that discovery. I am sorry for the embarrassment she recounted to me."

Additionally throughout his open letter, Simmons explains how he has made some past choices that have offended some of the women in his life and how he now, as a yogi, looks to his past behavior as a way to heal and continue to evolve. The statement also includes an apology, as well as a message in solidarity with those coming forward about past incidents of sexual assault by participating in the #MeToo campaign.

Take a look at Russell Simmons' latest open letter in full here.

Video
From the top