Sheryl Lee Ralph is opening up about how a TV network tried to silence her over assault claims.
The “Abbott Elementary” Emmy winner alleged that multiple network executives witnessed a “famous TV judge” assault her at a corporate function but did not penalize the assailant due to worries of “bad press.”
“This man walked in, grabbed me by the back of my neck, turned me around and rammed his nasty-ass tongue down my throat,” Ralph said during the “Way Up With Angela Yee” podcast episode. “And everybody at the network saw it.”
While Ralph did not name her attacker, she noted that it was not Judge Greg Mathis, who is “a great man.”
IndieWire has reached out to Ralph for comment.
“I’m at a very public place. I was suited. I was handling my business for the television show I was on at that time,” Ralph continued, citing that “we were on the same network” as the man who attacked her. Ralph starred in UPN series “Moesha” from 1996 to 2001.
Ralph shared that she was ready to take legal action until “somebody on the network tapped me on the shoulder saying, ‘Please don’t.'”
“They did not want any bad press around their show and did not care what just happened to me,” Ralph said. “They saw what happened! ‘It’s not that bad, is it? Please don’t say anything, we don’t need the bad press, it’s a brand new show. Yours is a new show.'”
Following the alleged sexual assault, Ralph called former New Orleans Mayor Marc Morial, who was in office from 1994 to 2002, to report it. According to Ralph, Morial said, “You want me to send the police there right now? ‘Cause we will fix his you-know-what!”
Ralph concluded, “That’s the kind of stuff that happens. That’s what makes it hard for women to speak up about these things. 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 shared during her 2022 Emmys acceptance speech, “I don’t know if you’re ever really preparing for this — I think most of the time you’re just doing the work and hoping that you’re doing good work for it to be seen. For me to be one of the 3,000 that is an Emmy Award-winning actress — come on. Now that is nothing but a gift and a blessing from God. That is something wonderful and special in my life. And I’m so blessed to be experiencing it now and all the good things that comes.”