Shereen Hariri said in a Facebook post (which apparently has been deleted) that Le Bon, now 59, was posing for photos and groped her “butt cheek” and began “making his way down my butt to my genitals” during an autograph-signing session at the Los Angeles record store where she worked in 1995.
“I was shocked and completely frozen,” she said, noting that she is seeking only an apology from Le Bon.
Hariri, who is now 47 and works as a therapist, said she was “afraid” to speak out in the years after the incident — “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 wrote — but had a change of heart after the release of Donald Trump’s notorious “grab them by the p—-” tape.
“I decided that time’s up. I’m not holding this secret anymore,” she wrote in her statement. “I want everyone to know what this man did to me. I hope he comes clean publicly. I hope he make amends to his wife and daughters.”
Le Bon responded late Wednesday in a post on the band’s 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.,” he 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.”
Hariri’s lawyer, Sarah Prescott, claimed that Le Bon pulled out of the meeting. “We were within a hair’s breath [sic] to do a sit-down with him,” she told the Detroit Free Press.
“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. “The stance [from his attorneys] 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 comment on the post, the band’s longtime publicist Katy Krassner wrote, “I was also at the in-store event in 1995,” she wrote, “and 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.”