Sheryl Lee Ralph has revealed that she was sexually assaulted by a “famous TV judge” at a public business event earlier in her career.
Ralph opened up about the incident earlier this week on “The Way Up With Angela Lee” podcast, alleging that network executives witnessed the attack and asked her to stay silent at the time in order to avoid “bad press,” per Variety.
“I’m at a very public place. I was suited. I had my suit on. I was handling my business for the television show I was on at that time. He and I were on the same network,” Ralph recalled of the assault. “This man walked in, grabbed me by the back of my neck, turned me around, and rammed his nasty a** tongue down my throat,” Ralph said. “And everybody at the network saw it.”
“I love him. He’s a great man,” Ralph said of Mathis. “Not him at all. He’s a great man. This was another one.”
The Emmy award winner said she decided to speak out about the incident in hopes of encouraging other women to stand up for themselves.
“Speak up, tell your truth, do not carry the burden of the pain … especially if you feel like it’s something you can’t work through,” Ralph said on the podcast.
The actress revealed that she called former New Orleans mayor Marc Morial, who served from 1994 to 2002 when Ralph starred in Moesha, and was ready to report the incident until the network allegedly asked her to stay silent.
“Somebody on the network tapped me on the shoulder saying, ‘Please don’t,’” Ralph said on the podcast. “They did not want any bad press around their show, and did not care what had just happened to me.”
“They saw what happened, she continued.
“It’s not that bad is it?” the Abbott Elementary star recalled network execs and bystanders saying. “Please don’t say anything. We don’t need the bad press. It’s a brand new show. Yours is a new show … It wasn’t so bad after all, was it?”
“That’s the kind of stuff that happens,” Ralph said. “That’s what makes it hard for women to speak up about these things.”
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