Seal under investigation for alleged sexual battery
Days after singer Seal offered his support for the #MeToo movement, law enforcement officials say he is under investigation for an alleged 2016 incident of sexual battery.
According to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, authorities responded to a “neighbor disturbance” call on January 13 in a neighborhood in Malibu, California.
“It was determined, however, at the time of the deputies’ arrival there was no disturbance at the location between the victim and any of her neighbors,” the release said. “The victim disclosed to the deputies she, allegedly, had been the victim of a sexual battery in November of 2016.”
Authorities listed the suspect as “54-year-old Samuel Henry Olusegun,” which is Seal’s legal name.
TMZ reported that Seal’s neighbor, actress Tracey Birdsall, said that she and Seal were neighbors and friends in the fall of 2016 when she went to his home to retrieve a salad spinner she said she loaned him.
Birdsall alleges the singer lunged at her and attempted to kiss her, then belittled her for wearing a tank top and shorts and groped her breasts.
After inviting her to sit with him on the couch, Birdsall said, Seal once again made fun of her outfit and groped her once more. She said she left and never saw him again.
When contacted by CNN, a representative for Seal referred to a statement published by TMZ.
“Seal vehemently denies the recent allegations made against him by a former neighbor for alleged misconduct more than a year ago, the statement read. “He intends to vigorously defend himself against these false allegations.”
A representative for Birdsall declined to comment.
Earlier this month, Seal stirred controversy with an Instagram post featuring photos — taken years ago at social events — of Oprah Winfrey with Harvey Weinstein, the former producer who has been accused of sexual misconduct by more than 80 women.
Weinstein, who is currently being investigated by the NYPD and LAPD for sexual assault allegations, has repeatedly denied all allegations of non-consensual sex.
“When you have been part of the problem for decades but suddenly they all think you are the solution,” Seal wrote in the post, which came after Winfrey’s rousing speech at the Golden Globe Awards in which she hailed ongoing efforts to curtail sexual harassment and assault across industries.
“Oh I forgot, that’s right…..you’d heard the rumours but you had no idea he was actually serially assaulting young stary-eyed actresses who in turn had no idea what they were getting into,” Seal added in the caption. “My bad. #SanctimoniousHollywood.”
Seal later posted a video on his official Facebook page, saying he respected Winfrey’s achievements and was offering commentary not on her but hypocrisy in the entertainment industry as a whole.
“To those of us who support the Me Too movement just know this, not one of the women who have been sexually abused, not one of the women who have come forward has received any real justice whatsoever,” Seal said in the video. “Losing your job because you either A) raped, B) sexually abused or even sexually harassed a woman is not real punishment.”
Birdsall reportedly told TMZ that Seal’s comments on social media spurred her decision to contact law enforcement about her alleged encounter with him.