New allegations against Russell Simmons and "Extra" host A.J. Calloway.
Joy Ann Reid and NBC have since released individual statements on why Sil Lai Abrams accounts of rape and sexual assault against Russell Simmons and A.J. Calloway did not air originally in November 2017. According to a representative for MSNBC, Abrams’ request was that both Calloway and Simmons’ names be included in the final story. This request meant that extensive investigative reporting would have to be conducted on both men.
Ultimately, the reporting was lacking in crucial details to deliver on a proper report by MSNBC’s standards. NBC states that such elements included the fact that Calloway’s criminal case was dismissed and sealed as indicated by his attorney, that a former prosecutor would not speak on the case, that alleged witnesses denied requests to speak on records, and that the reporting team couldn’t confirm hospital records.
"Before sharing the story with MSNBC, I had agreed to Sil Lai’s request that both accused men be included in any final story - not just one or the other. I interviewed Sil Lai and several witnesses, and spent several weeks researching aspects of her story to determine whether there was enough material there to keep going. It was important to her that she tell her full narrative. Ultimately this meant we needed to verify two separate allegations of sexual assault, not just one,” Joy Reid says in a statement.
"After roughly three months, our team at MSNBC was far along in our reporting on the allegations against one of the accused men, but unable to confirm significant aspects of the claims related to the second man. This meant that we could not report on either man. The process was clearly frustrating for Sil Lai, particularly once other women publicly accused one of the men. Investigative reports like these take time, and not surprisingly, sometimes journalists get frustrated as well. I inappropriately shared that frustration privately with Sil Lai. I completely respect MSNBC’s standards and practices. Meticulous research to get the facts right was the only option, especially given the seriousness of the allegations.”
Author and journalist Sil Lai Abrams has come forward with alleged account of sexual assault at the hands of Russell Simmons and A.J. Calloway, host of Extra, formerly the host of the original iterations of BET’s 106 & Park.
In a new exclusive with The Hollywood Reporter, Abrams says that she was the victim of two incidents that occurred nearly ten years apart with the first being in 1994 when Simmons allegedly raped her and in 2006 in which she accuses Calloway of assault.
She previously told both stories in 2007 with her boon, No More Drama: Nine Simple Steps To Transforming a Breakdown into a Breakthrough, using different names at the time of publication.
Abrams, who once worked with and had a brief romantic relationship with says that the two were hanging out only as friends when the incident occurred. She says that in ’94, after drinking and partying, a driver took her to a sober Simmons’ home.
She says that she indicated that she had no intentions have sex, but Russell Simmons allegedly “flipped her onto her stomach, pulled down the bike shorts she was wearing beneath her dress and raped her.” Soon after, he would instruct her to leave as another woman would be showing up to his home soon.
She says that the occurrence left her depressed and suicidal and that a few years later, she ran into Simmons who apologized about what he had done, adding “I’m a different person now.” Russell Simmons’ representatives have denied both the rape and conversation.
In describing the second incident, Abrams revealed that when she was working a charity event, A.J. Calloway made unprompted sexual advances that included fondling Abrams’s breasts and pulling out his penis in 2006.
“She called me and told me about A.J.,” said Carol Ingram, a friend of Sil Lai Abrams. “He grabbed her and started kissing her and then he grabbed her hand and started to masturbate.”
Calloway was arrested and charged with forcible touching and attempted sexual misconduct, but the according to his attorneys the charges were dropped, calling them “decade-old allegations.”
“They were false when they were first made and are false now,” said the attorney. “Mr. Calloway fully cooperated with law enforcement from the beginning, denied the allegations, and the case was completely dismissed in November 2007. After the case was dismissed, the court records were sealed as a matter of law and are no longer available.”
Abrams had plans of going public with both accounts as early as November 2017 in a segment with MSNBC’s Joy Reid, but according to Abrams Reid stated that NBC’s legal department was “slow-walking the story with idiotic requests." Ultimately, the story never aired with the network.