Simon Le Bon, the lead singer of Duran Duran, has denied claims he sexually assaulted a woman during a record signing event in Los Angeles 23 years ago.
The woman, Shereen Hariri, posted on the band’s official Facebook page that Le Bon had grabbed her “butt cheek” before “making his way down my butt to my genitals”.
She claims she was working at a record store called The Warehouse in 1995, when she was assisting Le Bon set up a signing table, during which she claims the incident took place.
Hariri added that Le Bon appeared to come across as “smug, self-assured [and] so unbelievably brazen”
Le Bon, now 59 years of age, said the allegations were “completely untrue”.
In a separate post on Duran Duran’s Facebook page, the singer stated: “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 apologise for my failings. But I cannot apologise for something I did not do.”
Hariri’s lawyer, Sarah Prescott, has told media that Le Bon had pulled out of a proposed meeting between he and Hariri, which has lead to her going public.
“We were within a hair’s breadth to do a sit-down with him,” Prescott told the Detroit Free Press. “At first he was kind of, ‘Yes, well, maybe later.’ It was just not gonna’ happen.”
Of the alleged incident, Hariri said she was left “shocked and frozen” and “afraid of the consequences” if she were to say anything at the time. She added that Le Bon appeared to come across as “smug, self-assured [and] so unbelievably brazen”.
Hariri, now 47, said that she was inspired to come out with her claim after she’d heard the sexist “grab them by the pussy” comments by Donald Trump a couple of years ago.
“I’m not holding this secret anymore,” she said. “I want everyone to know what this man did to me. I hope [Le Bon] comes clean publicly. I hope he makes amends to his wife and daughters.” She insisted she was not seeking monetary compensation (in the US, the statute of limitations for assault is two years) but at least an apology.
Duran Duran became notorious for featuring scantily clad women in their music videos for songs such as Girls on Film, Skin Trade, Electric Barbarella, and All She Wants Is. The band were renowned for having female fans scream and faint in their audiences in the early to mid-1980s.
Since making the accusation, Hariri has deleted her post from Facebook. Antonino Tati
Photography top of story by Antonino Tati