Variety reported that the incident, which Ralph said happened at a business event years ago, was witnessed by network executives. They told her to keep her mouth shut to dodge “bad press.”
“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 recounted on Angela Yee’s podcast The Wake Up With Angela Yee. “This man walked in, grabbed me by the back of my neck, turned me around and rammed his nasty ass tongue down my throat, and everybody at the network saw it.”
Though the Dreamgirls alum didn’t share who the judge was, she did make it clear that it wasn’t Judge Greg Mathis.
“I love him. He’s a great man,” she said of Mathis, star of Judge Mathis. “Not him at all. He’s a great man.”
Ralph, who was understandably upset when discussing the matter, urged women who have been assaulted to speak out.
“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,” she said.
Before network executives told her not to say anything about the incident, Ralph wanted to do the opposite and called Marc Morial, mayor of New Orleans at the time. He was ready to report the assault without hesitation.
“You want me to send the police there right now?” Ralph said Morial asked her. “Cause we will fix this, you know what!”
That’s when the execs got involved.
“Somebody on the network tapped me on the shoulder saying, ‘Please don’t,'” Ralph shared. “They did not want any bad press around their show, and did not care what had just happened to me.”
Later, she said they asked, “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. … It wasn’t so bad after all, was it?”
Ralph explained that their response is the “kind of stuff that happens,” which “makes it hard for women to speak up about these things.”
According to Vibe, Ralph also talked about another incident on the podcast, where someone repeatedly accosted her, and others judged her for calling him out.
“It’s horrible. It’s like I can think about these things, and I’ll tell you, it was like the third time something like this had happened to me, and I thought to myself, ‘What did I do to deserve that?’ What made this man think that he could just come over and put his hands on my body, in front of — he didn’t know me,” the 66-year-old said.
If you have experienced sexual assault and need assistance or support, call 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) to talk to a trained professional or connect with one in your area.