Black News and Black Views with a Whole Lotta Attitude
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Black News and Black Views with a Whole Lotta Attitude

Russell Simmons Responds to Sexual Assault Allegations by Mansplaining That He’s Not Guilty Because ... Yoga

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Entertainment mogul Russell Simmons responded to allegations of sexual abuse with a apology letter denying the claims while insinuating that his accuser might be attacking him because she is embarrassed.

Model Keri Claussen Khalighi has alleged that Simmons assaulted her at his home in 1991 when she was 17 years old. Khalighi accused Simmons of trying to physically force her to have intercourse with him as she fought wildly and movie producer Brett Ratner just watched. Khalighi said Simmons eventually gave up and coerced her into performing oral sex.

On Wednesday, the Hollywood Reporter published a letter written by Simmons explaining his side of the story. The letter is a jumbled mess of new-age gobbledygook, so we ran it through The Root’s proprietary technology, the Blacktalk Translatortron 3000, to decipher it for our audience.

Humanity is going through a powerful and wrenching shift of consciousness that I believe will ultimately lead to a mass awakening in all humankind [1].

1. I want to begin by saying something totally irrelevant to this incident, but it makes me sound like a barefoot guru so that you’ll know where I stand.

Like all lasting change, this transition is filled with painful disruption and confrontation against an entrenched system. It may sound odd to some that I am encouraged about this time in our history, but I am [2]. 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 [3].

2. I would like to invoke my right to blame my heinous activity on “the system.” Y’all know how “the system” is ... I shouldn’t have to explain, so I won’t.

3. You’ve heard a lot of allegations lately about rapey men taking advantage of women. I wholeheartedly support these women. Now allow me to explain why I don’t support this particular allegation (spoiler alert: mostly because this allegation affects me).

I also know from recent painful personal experience that some recollections can be cast in a light away from the actual facts [4].

4. She’s lying.

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 [5]. 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 [6].

5. One of my homeboys has signed a statement that says I didn’t do it, along with two people who wouldn’t even give their names. I know that sounds shady, but who are you going to believe: me, some dude named Anthony and two people who wrote it down anonymously, or the woman who says she was sexually assaulted? I know you’re probably wondering, “How did they sign the statement if they are anonymous?” You’re asking too many logical questions right now.

6. Plus, there are many people who have known me for a long time who will attest that I didn’t rape them. That should count for something.

In our meeting many years later, and subsequent conversations, Keri never accused me of what she has said publicly [7]. 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 [8].

7. I’ve seen Keri since. How come she didn’t bring up the incident then? Sure, I am one of the most powerful people in the entertainment business. Sure, she might have been scared I would beat her up again, since she alleges that I did it in full view of others who remained silent, but still ...

8. She told her boyfriend about the one time, years ago, that she gave me oral sex. That incident doesn’t stick out in her mind because it was a painful, traumatic experience. She probably just brought it up because she was embarrassed. I’m sure you bring up embarrassing things that happened years ago to your boyfriend all the time.

I have made choices that have offended some of the women in my life. It’s not cool to be a playboy and a new consciousness understands this. Now, as I hear these voices, I do as well. Though never abusive in any way, my remarks were often cavalier and thoughtless, and for this I am humbled. I am a work in progress. I am human. The fact that I come from the world of music or a specific place or generation justifies nothing [9].

9. I’m not like that anymore. Why y’all always bringing up old shit?

That has been an ongoing deep transition in my life. As a yogi I believe intent is very important. My intent always came from a joyful, playful place [10]. I can sleep at night because I know who I am. And I know who I was. I never committed any acts of aggression or violence in my life. I would never knowingly cause fear or harm to anyone. For any women from my past who I may have offended, I sincerely apologize. I am still evolving [11].

10. I do yoga. I’m a vegan. I don’t know why it’s relevant, but I think it is.

11. Again ... old shit.

As the dialogue progresses, let’s not lose sight of what’s truly happening, a shift in power and all that entails. I want that shift. It must lead to a space where women and also men can heal, even if it means attacking me [12]. I remain an activist for women’s rights and all things unjust. This is my life’s work and journey, and God knows my heart. To all the #MeToo campaigns and women around the world, I support your healing and will continue to be an honest and imperfect advocate for the voiceless (including animals) and humanity as a whole [13].

12. Even though I just dismissed a woman who spoke out against sexual misconduct, I want everyone to know that I still support women speaking out against sexual misconduct. I am still down with #MeToo.

13. ... But not me too.