Judge Joe Brown Threatens to Sue over Rumors He Assaulted Sheryl Lee Ralph

The Abbott Elementary star recently said a "famous TV judge" sexually assaulted her early in her career — but she did not name the judge

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 03: Sheryl Lee Ralph attends a private reception honoring Sheryl Lee Ralph hosted by Better Brothers Los Angeles and BLK at SLS Hotel, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Beverly Hills on March 03, 2023 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by JC Olivera/Getty Images); BEVERLY HILLS, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 26: Judge Joe Brown attends eZWay Studios Grand Opening and Eric Zuley Birthday Celebration on March 26, 2016 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Maury Phillips/WireImage)
Photo: JC Olivera/Getty; Maury Phillips/WireImage

Judge Joe Brown is speaking out against a sexual assault accusation made by Sheryl Lee Ralph — despite the fact she did not name him as her alleged assaulter.

Last week after the Abbott Elementary star claimed a "famous TV judge" groped and kissed her without her consent, she said the man in question was not Judge Greg Mathis — sparking internet speculation that she might be referring to Brown.

A day later, Brown responded in a tweet that threatened legal action.

"There're false rumors being spread that I mistreated a certain lady [about] 25 yrs ago," wrote Brown, 75. "I categorically deny both the accusations & acquaintance with the lady. Those rumors started with certain identified parties & spread. They ought 'Cease & Desist' or contemplate a Defamation Action."

Brown also responded to a follow-up tweet asking why Ralph, 66, would lie about such serious allegations. "Perhaps her Congressman husband has an interest in the matter ??? (As things pertain to defeating his party's crippling grip on the area …)," Brown responded, seemingly referencing Ralph's husband, Pennsylvania state Senator Vincent Hughes.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 09: Sheryl Lee Ralph attends the MACRO Pre-Oscar Party at Citizen News Hollywood on March 09, 2023 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Gonzalo Marroquin/Getty Images for MACRO)
Gonzalo Marroquin/Getty for MACRO

Ralph, 66, first discussed the alleged incident, which she says took place early in her career, during an episode of the Way Up with Angela Yee podcast that was released on March 20.

According to Ralph, "[I was] 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."

She continued, "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."

Ralph claimed the alleged incident took place during her time starring on Moesha, which ran on the now-defunct UPN network from 1996 to 2001, and said that she wanted to file a police report but was discouraged from doing so by network executives.

Ralph otherwise provided no more details on the man she says was responsible.

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Brown's courtroom series Judge Joe Brown aired for 15 seasons from 1998 to 2013. The judge continues his career with political aspirations and is currently running in the 2023 Memphis mayoral election.

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