Sil Lai Abrams Accuses A.J. Calloway and Russell Simmons of Sexual Assault
Author and journalist Sil Lai Abrams has come forward with accounts of being sexually assaulted by Russell Simmons and A.J. Calloway, “Extra” host and former host of BET’s 106 & Park.
In a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Abrams says the #MeToo movement galvanized her to reveal the truth within portions of her 2007 book, No More Drama: Nine Simple Steps To Transforming a Breakdown into a Breakthrough, that concealed Simmons’ and Calloway’s names.
Sil Lai Abrams reveals past instances of sexual misconduct with Russell Simmons and A.J. Calloway.
Abrams alleges Simmons raped her in 1994, an occurrence that left her depressed and suicidal years later. She also says A.J. Calloway assaulted her in 2006, exposing himself and attempting to push her head down on his lap.
Abrams says years later, Simmons apologized to her. Calloway was arrested and charged with forcible touching and attempted sexual misconduct, but the charges were dropped in November 2007. Both men deny the allegations.
Calloway is a host on the entertainment show Extra, which is produced by Warner Bros. and airs in major markets on NBC owned-and-operated stations.
Abrams details how she attempted to tell her story as early as November 2017, recording a segment with with MSNBC’s Joy Reid, but the recording was derailed. Reid accused NBC’s legal department of “slow-walking the story with idiotic requests.”
“They took away my voice,” Abrams told THR. “I want people to understand how incredibly challenging this is, with a story like mine that’s highly sourced, with me doing this [advocacy] work in the public arena. And I can’t get my story out there? If I didn’t have those things, let’s be very clear, no one would know about this today. I’m speaking out for all the other women who have been silenced, to let them know it’s not their fault.”
Reid taped an interview with Abrams in January, according to the report. But a process that had begun in December dragged on frustratingly for weeks and then months. At times, Reid texted or emailed Abrams about her sense that the network was ‘slow-walking’ the story with ‘stupid’ requests,” Masters wrote.
By April, Abrams was reportedly informed by Reid that NBC was no longer responding to her questions regarding when the segment might air.