Duran Duran lead singer Simon Le Bon accused of sexual assault
The 59-year-old frontman of Duran Duran has not been charged since the statute of limitations for sexual assault has already passed but the accuser demands he publicly own up to it
Duran Duran lead singer Simon Le Bon is the latest to feel the heat of the #MeToo movement, with a woman accusing him of grabbing her private parts in the middle of a crowded record store in 1995 during an autograph signing in Los Angeles.
The singer, however, has denied the accusation, claiming it was “simply untrue” and that he cannot apologize for something he did not do.
The accuser, Shereen Hariri, 47, a Los Angeles therapist and mother, has not filed a lawsuit, nor is she seeking any reparations. But she says she wants Le Bon to acknowledge the assault and own up to it publicly. "I decided that time’s up. I’m not holding this secret anymore. I want everyone to know what this man did to me," Hariri said in a statement obtained by the Detroit Free Press. "I hope he comes clean publicly. I hope he makes amends to his wife and daughters ...I hope his daughters live in a better world than the one he created — and mine does too. I hope none of them are grabbed by the p--- by a powerful man just because he can."
According to the report by the Detroit Free Press, Hariri admitted that it was the release of the Donald Trump's "Access Hollywood" tape where he infamously spoke about "grabbing women by the pu**y" and getting away with it because of his celebrity status that prompted her to come out and publicly address the incident from over two decades ago. She concluded: "If he wants to make amends to me, I am open to it. But I am stopping the silence. #TimesUp."
Northville attorney Sarah Prescott, an employee-rights lawyer who is representing Hariri said her client came close to a sit-down with Le Bon in recent months — through talks with his attorney — but that Le Bon ultimately changed his mind. "We were within a hair’s breath to do a sit-down with him," Prescott said. "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 also went on to explain how her client cannot sue in this case since the statute of limitations has already passed (two years for assault cases). But Prescott confirmed that the motivation for the client was not financial gain, noting her client stressed: "'I don't want money.'"
Prescott said that she had been talking to Le Bon's attorney for months, "right up through last week," about scheduling a possible sit down for the two parties. But Le Bon, through his attorney, has admitted no wrongdoing, she said.
"He never admitted anything, It was more of, 'I can come and tell you how sorry I am that this happens to women,'" said Prescott, pointing out that Le Bon's lawyer did not express any shock or outrage while discussing the allegation. "The stance was, 'There were a lot of drugs taken those days. He's not going to remember any particular lady or any particular moment,'" Prescott said, referring to Le Bon's lawyer's comments.
Neither Le Bon nor his attorney has addressed the issue as of yet and could not be reached for comment when approached by Free Press.
Le Bon, 59, is the acclaimed voice and face of the 1980s pop-rock band Duran Duran, which spearheaded MTV's 'Second British Invasion' of the US, selling over 100 million records worldwide. The band has secured 21 songs in the Billboard Hot 100 with their numerous new wave and synthpop hits, including 'Hungry Like the Wolf,' 'Rio,' 'The Reflex' and 'Girls on Film.' The band has been showered with several accolades and awards including two Brit Awards including the 2004 award for Outstanding Contribution to Music, two Grammy Awards, an MTV Video Music Award for Lifetime Achievement and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Find the full statement by Hariri recounting the incidents of her incident with Le Bon below (via Detroit Free Press):
"Simon Le Bon, lead singer of Duran Duran, sexually assaulted me at my workplace in April of 1995. It is time for me to talk about it."
At the time of the incident, Hariri was 24 and living with a boyfriend in a loft in downtown Los Angeles. She was an aspiring filmmaker who worked at The Wherehouse, a record store where Duran Duran held an autograph signing for hundreds of fans.
It was April 10, 1995. Hariri was working the event when the four band members took their seats for a photo op. She was standing behind Le Bon. The press started taking photos.
"And while cameras clicked away, I felt Simon Le Bon’s left hand brashly and ridiculously move to my right butt cheek. He started massaging it, then kneading it more firmly, then making his way down my butt to my genitals, then rubbing my labia," Hariri alleges in her statement.
"I was shocked and completely frozen. I was being assaulted in the midst of that scene. I knew I had a smile still half-pasted on my face, but once the shock started to wear off a bit, my brain went into panic mode. I tried to figure out what to do. Should I dig my nails into some part of his body? Should I run to a phone and call the police? Should I scream? Hit him? Time slowed down and my mind raced through consequences. If I made a scene, I'd be in the press: the Girl Who Accused Simon Le Bon. I'd probably be fired, rejected, ignored, even hated."
She continued: "I was afraid to move, afraid of the consequences, and enraged that he knew he could do such a thing in front of cameras. It was so smug, so self-assured, so unbelievably brazen."
The humiliation, she said, continued. She was posted at Le Bon's signing table, directly in front of him, to help keep the line of fans moving.
"I was glaring at him, my eyes narrowed and arms folded. He was looking at me, smirking. I remember thinking how light and glassy his eyes looked ... Then he stated, with that distinct voice that I had heard on the radio but now have to hear echoing in my bad memories, "You're Persian, aren't you?" I must have nodded or somehow answered him, because he said, "I thought so. My wife gets that same expression on her face."
Later that day, her boyfriend showed up. She told him what happened and he wanted to confront Le Bon. She convinced him not to do so, "telling him I was scared it would bring too much negative media attention. In hindsight, I wish he had done it anyway."
Le Bon countered the accusation in a statement posted on Duran Duran’s official Facebook page. “I have read the statement which Ms. Hariri posted yesterday on Facebook about a record signing 23 years ago at Wherehouse in L.A.,” Le Bon acknowledged.
“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,” he wrote, flatly denying the allegation.
“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.”
Lebon’s claim that he tried to settle things in private with Hariri is in direct contrast with that presented by Harari’s attorney Sarah Prescott, who noted that it was Le Bon’s reluctance to meet and apologize that prompted Hariri to go public.
In a comment beneath the post, Katy Krassner, Duran Duran’s longtime publicist and assistant, backed Le Bon’s account, saying she was at the signing on the referred day and that “Simon was never out of my sight that entire day”.
“The idea that he sat there, right next to his bandmates, in front of a bunch of cameras, reaching behind him to sexually assault someone that day is simply ludicrous,” she wrote.
“I hope everyone who read Shereen’s post considers that there might be another (very different) side to the story … Shame on anyone who decided to believe one person’s erroneous account without knowing all the facts.”