Writer Ben Ryan has accused Rolling Stone founder Jann Wenner of sexual harassment saying that he offered him a career advancement in exchange for sex during a meeting in 2005.
Wenner acknowledged the encounter he previously told BuzzFeed in a statement to Variety.
“I met Ben 12 years ago, and I attempted to have a sexual liaison with him. He turned me down, which I respected. I had no intention of making him feel uncomfortable. His piece was subsequently published in any case; no work was promised and no work was lost. I have never and would never make an offer of this kind.”
The two had a meeting at Wenner’s townhouse. Ryan claims Wenner made him a drink and sat with him on a couch before quickly making a move on him. Wenner had been out as gay for 10 years at that point, Ryan said.
“I had Jann Wenner’s tongue in my mouth,” Ryan said. “I went along for a second, but then said something to the effect of, ‘Oh please, I’m not that kind of girl.’”
When Ryan tried to leave, Wenner allegedly said he would offer him a writing contract if he stayed.
“I think there was that moment where it’s like time stood still, and you’re imagining how this could be the answer to all my struggles. All I would have to do is this one thing,” Ryan said. “But that’s not me. I would never do that.”
Ryan’s boyfriend at the time, James Harris, confirmed Ryan’s account of the incident, as did three other people Ryan said he told in subsequent years.
Ryan also provided BuzzFeed News with a detailed journal entry he wrote the night of the alleged encounter. It reads,
“It was the most pure form of sexual harassment: he pawed and groped and I insisted no, but he persisted promising me a ’25 article contract’ in the most disingenuous voice. ‘Preferential treatment.’ I was forced to kiss him. His mouth was dry and he was a serpent-like kisser, lashing with his tongue. After 90 minutes I left dignity relatively intact.”