[Warning: This article contains descriptions of sexual assault.]
Building on a string of accusations of sexual harassment, coercion, and assault leveled against Steven Seagal as the #MeToo movement regained momentum last fall, two women, Regina Simons and Faviola Dadis, have come forward to tell their stories of being sexually assaulted by the actor. They did so at a press conference organized by their attorney, Lisa Bloom, who has a long history of representing assault and harassment victims and who resigned from a position advising Harvey Weinstein shortly after the allegations against him were made public. The Wrap interviewed Simons and Dadis about the accusations back in January, and today Simons and Dadis gave statements in their own words about the assaults.
Simons tells a story sickeningly reminiscent of the M.O.s of other accused predators, saying that Seagal invited her to his house for a “wrap party” after she worked as an extra on his 1994 film On Deadly Ground. When she arrived, she was greeted by Seagal dressed in a bathrobe, who told her there would be no other guests, led her into a bedroom, and shut the door. Seagal—who “was more than twice my size and twice my age,” as Simons puts it—then raped her. “There was nothing consensual about this. I couldn’t move and I felt as if I was watching my body from above,” Simons said through tears at today’s press conference.
Dadis then approached to podium to tell her story, saying that Seagal invited her to an “audition” when she had just moved to Los Angeles. After initially forging a seemingly innocent relationship with the young model, Seagal then invited her to a “private audition” in a hotel room, where he instructed her to strip down to a bikini and assaulted her by groping her breasts and genitals. “Steven sat there calmly as if nothing had happened, while I was noticeably upset and terrified by the experience. Steven’s security guard stood blocking the doorway and only moved when Steven motioned for him to do so. I left feeling horrified and totally violated,” Dadis says. Initially, “I felt it was my fault for going to an audition late at night,” she adds, “but then I realized that it wasn’t my fault at all. I was taken advantage of by someone with a lot of power.”
Both victims say they’re not looking for money or fame, and waited many years to report their assaults because of fear of retaliation. Both women cited the #MeToo movement as their inspiration for coming forward now, and say they are hoping to find closure and hold Seagal accountable. Bloom is representing both women pro bono, and all three women deny Seagal’s accusation that Bloom is paying them for their testimonies. “Steven Seagal may be an action star, but it’s Faviola and Regina who are taking action now,” Bloom says, adding that they have given statements to the LAPD about their assaults and are prepared to cooperate with any investigation.
Contacted for comment by USA Today, the LAPD confirmed that it began investigating Seagal after Simons and Dadis initially accused him in January. Seagal denies ever meeting either of the women, but Dadis said at today’s press conference, “He was there and he is well-aware of what he did.”