By Kellie Ell
with contributions from Samantha Conti
 on January 3, 2019
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 06:  A$AP Bari attends the celebration of Tupac's Powamekka Cafe and preview of Tupac by Vlone on April 6, 2017 in New York City.  (Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for The Estate of Tupac Shakur )

Fashion designer and A$AP Mob cofounder A$AP Bari pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a woman in a London hotel two summers ago.

The charge stemmed from an incident at The Curtain, a trendy hotel in London’s Shoreditch neighborhood, in July of 2017. An Instagram video showed the designer, whose real name is Jabari Shelton, seemingly trying to coerce a woman into sexual acts and slapping her naked bottom, even as she was yelling “no.” The video went viral before it was deleted.  

According to the victim, a woman in her 20s who filed a complaint anonymously, Shelton’s behavior was retaliatory; she had rejected his advances earlier in the day.

After the video was posted, Shelton reacted with another social media post, calling the video “misleading,” and said any reports of arrest were “false.”

“We have resolved this issue amicably among all parties as adults,” Shelton wrote. “We were friends before this and will remain friends afterward.”

But the New Yorker was arrested the following May while on a layover in London’s Heathrow Airport and only allowed to return home to the U.S. on bail. Shelton, the designer who founded the streetwear brand Vlone, was released from his contract with Nike just weeks after the original July 2017 episode.

Even so, Shelton remained steadfast that he was innocent. He even filed a counterclaim against the accuser, alleging defamation. 

That’s why it came as a surprise when he showed up to London’s Old Bailey courthouse on Thursday morning in a ski mask that covered his face and pleaded guilty to sexual assault.

Jabari Shelton shows up to London’s Old Bailey courthouse Thursday morning wearing a ski mask.  Courtesy

In doing so Shelton was able to avoid jail time. The London Metropolitan Police Department released a statement Thursday saying Shelton was slapped with a restraining order and ordered to paid a fine of 4,000 pounds, or more than $5,000, and 2,500 pounds, or roughly $3,150, to the unnamed victim.

“The victim of this sexual assault has had the courage and determination to seek justice for what has been a traumatic event in her life,” Adam Langley, detective constable of the London’s Metropolitan Police Service’s Central East basic command unit, said in a press release issued by the police department. “I hope that this conviction provides her with some comfort.”

The victim’s legal team, which includes Hollywood attorney Martin Singer, said their client is satisfied with the results of the criminal trial. They are now seeking at least $1 million in a separate civil case. Requests for a comment from Shelton’s lawyer, as well as A$AP Mob, the hip-hop and fashion collective that he cofounded in 2006, went unanswered. 

Vlone x NikeLab Air Force 1

Vlone x NikeLab Air Force 1  Courtesy Photo

The Vlone-Nike collaboration, which began in 2016, was over the highly coveted Air Force 1 sneakers. The black-and-orange shoes start around $1,700 a pair.

Vlone also had its first runway show in June 2017 in Paris. Shelton credited his upbringing in New York’s Harlem neighborhood as the source of artistic inspiration.