Extra host A.J. Calloway has released a statement denying sexual assault allegations by activist Sil Lai Abrams, who shared her story with the Hollywood Reporter earlier this week.
“I was disappointed to read the false allegations about me in The Hollywood Reporter,” he said in a statement to ESSENCE. “As I have maintained from the beginning, these allegations are not true. When I was first notified about these allegations by law enforcement more than a decade ago, I fully cooperated from the beginning and the case was dismissed.”
He continued: “THR chose to publish these meritless allegations without a thorough investigation of the facts. I intend to vigorously defend my reputation against these false accusations and will not let this cause further harm to my family.”
Abrams named Calloway and Def Jam founder Russell Simmons as the two men who assaulted her years ago. She’d written about her assaults, which happened 12 years apart, in her 2007 book No More Drama. However, she had yet to name her attackers on the record.
Abrams said Calloway made a sexually inappropriate advance at her after the duo had worked well with each other on a fundraising event. But when they met up sometime after, things went awry:
“When she told him it was time for her to head home, he offered to drive her. Once they were en route, he asked, ‘Do you see what you do to me?’ When she turned, she says, she was shocked to see that he was displaying his erect penis. She says she told him, ‘Why don't you do us both a favor and put that away?’” the article states.
The Hollywood Reporter continues: “Abrams says it was late and cold and she wasn't far from home. Calculating that he wouldn't push things too far, she says, she decided not to bolt out of the car. But when he pulled up outside her building, she says he started kissing her and fondling her breast, and she saw he was exposing himself again. He tried to push her head down on his lap, she says, and when she pulled away, he grabbed her hand, put it on his penis and stroked himself until he ejaculated. Before getting out of the car, she says she angrily asked him why he had done it. Soon after she was back in her apartment, she says, he called to apologize.”
After the alleged incident with Calloway, Abrams filed a police report and he was arrested. The case, however, was dismissed “on procedural grounds.”
Unfortunately, Abrams’ journey only got tougher when she tried to go public with her story after the #MeToo movement took off last year. She began working on telling her story with MSNBC’s Joy Reid in an investigative segment with MSNBC and a written piece in New York Magazine. However, the story was never fully picked up by either publication.
Abrams said she was assaulted by Simmons in 1994. After a night of partying and heavy drinking, Abrams said Simmons took her back to his penthouse and assaulted her.
Over a dozen women have accused Simmons of sexual assault, including rape and attempted rape. The Def Jam founder denies having assaulted Abrams.