Duran Duran lead singer Simon Le Bon has responded to an accusation of alleged sexual assault by a fan. In a post published to Duran Duran’s Facebook page yesterday, Le Bon called claims that he groped and assaulted record store employee Shereen Hariri at a Los Angeles in-store signing in 1995 “simply untrue.”
In a six-page statement provided to Spin and other publications by her legal team, Hariri alleges that Le Bon began “massaging” and “kneading” her “right butt cheek” before “making his way down…to my genitals” during a photo op at the now-defunct Wherehouse record store. Hariri claims Le Bon later “smirk[ed]” in response to her glares and asked if she was of Persian descent, before allegedly saying, “I thought so. My wife gets that expression on her face.” Hariri’s statement also discusses her feelings of shock, fears about coming forward, and feelings of empowerment spurred by the #MeToo movement.
In his response to the accusation on Facebook, Le Bon wrote:
The behavior that Ms Hariri has accused me of, would have been just as inappropriate and unacceptable to me then as it is today. But the allegation is simply untrue. When Ms. Hariri first contacted me about her claim months ago, I proposed meeting with her in person so I could set the record straight. Instead, she has decided to pursue this publicly. I have always been one who can admit to my mistakes and apologize for my failings. But I cannot apologize for something I did not do.”
Because the statute of limitations for assault cases has passed, Hariri claims to not be pursuing a lawsuit against Le Bon. She also claims to be uninterested in seeking monetary compensation in her statement. But Hariri’s lawyer Sarah Prescott detailed her alleged interactions with Le Bon’s legal representation about negotiating an in-person meeting to the Detroit Free Press.
“We were within a hair’s breath to do a sit-down with him,” Prescott told DFP. “At first he was kind of, ‘Yes, well, maybe later.’ It was just not gonna happen. Her view was, ‘Let’s just let the sunlight in.'” Prescott says she pursued a sit-down with Le Bon through his lawyers “right up through last week.” Summarizing their alleged argument to her, Prescott said: “[Le Bon] never admitted anything. It was more of, ‘I can come and tell you how sorry I am that this happens to women.’ … The stance [of Le Bon’s lawyer] was, ‘There were a lot of drugs taken those days. He’s not going to remember any particular lady or any particular moment.'”
In a statement to The Guardian (also posted in the comments to LeBon’s Facebook post), Le Bon’s assistant and spokesperson Katy Krassner categorically denied Hariri’s claims, citing her own experience of the Wherehouse event:
I can tell you that what he is being accused of DID NOT happen. Simon was never out of my sight that entire day, as each of the people on the Duran Duran team were ‘assigned’ to a band member to help with the record signing. Apart from anything else, as any fan knows, these kinds of events are a whirlwind of quick handshakes and photo calls which literally last a matter of seconds. The idea that he sat there, right next to his band mates, in front of a bunch of cameras, reaching behind him to sexually assault someone that day is simply ludicrous.
Spin has reached out to Le Bon and Hariri’s representation for additional comment.