Seal Accused of Sexual Battery, Denies Allegations Amid Criminal Investigation

Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

Seal photographed at Warner Bros. Records on Oct. 5, 2015 in Burbank, Calif. 

Seal has vehemently denied allegations of sexual misconduct lodged against him by actress Tracey Birdsall. The 54-year-old British "Kiss From a Rose" singer (born Henry Osusegun Adeola Samuel) is under criminal investigation for alleged sexual battery stemming from a reported incident that took place at his home in November 2016.

Birdsall told TMZ that she and the singer were neighbors in Los Angeles at the time and they developed a close friendship. The Rogue Warrior: Robot Fighter star says she went to Seal's house to retrieve a salad spinner when he allegedly lunged at her, forcing himself on her and attempting to kiss her as she shouted, "What are you doing?," to which he reportedly replied, "I'm kissing you!" After allegedly making fun of her outfit -- a tank top and shorts -- Birdsall says Seal tried to grope her breasts as she again demanded he stop.

She says she left and has not spoken to Seal again, but decided to come forward after she saw Seal's comments last week about Oprah Winfrey's Golden Globes speech and his support for Harvey Weinstein accusers, in which he encouraged women to share their stories of sexual misconduct and assault.

A spokesperson for the L.A. County Sheriff's office confirmed that the Lost Hills/Malibu sheriff's station recently took a report from an unnamed victim. A release from the sheriff's office issued Tuesday (Jan. 16) says that deputies responded to a "neighbor disturbance" call in Malibu on Saturday, at which point they determined that there was no disturbance at the location at the time but instead took a victim report from an unnamed complainant who said she had been the victim of sexual battery. Seal was identified as the suspect, and a spokesperson said the investigation is ongoing but that no additional information was available at press time.

A spokesperson for Seal refuted the claim in a statement that reads: "Seal vehemently denies the recent accusations made against him by a former neighbor for alleged misconduct of more than a year ago. He intends to vigorously defend himself against these false allegations.”

Seal came under fire last week after he appeared to call out Hollywood's apparent hypocrisy in the wake of the #MeToo movement against sexual assault and harassment. The singer apologized for reposting a meme that intimated that Oprah Winfrey was aware of disgraced former studio mogul Harvey Weinstein's decades of alleged sexual assaults and said nothing. Following a flood of backlash, Seal took to Facebook to clarify his stance. 

"I have an enormous amount of respect for everything that Oprah has achieved and contributed in her life,” the father of four said about the famed talk show host whose name has been floated as a possible challenger to Pres. Trump in 2020 after her rousing Golden Globes speech on Jan. 7. “What I reposted was not an attack on Oprah at all. She just happened to be the person photographed with the pig in the picture. No, what I reposted was commentary on the hypocritical and double-standard nature and behavior of Hollywood.”