RUSSELL SIMMONS STEPS DOWN FROM COMPANIES AMID SEXUAL ASSAULT ALLEGATIONSNovember 30, 2017
Russell Simmons has announced he will step down from his various businesses after a second woman has come forward with a detailed account of alleged sexual assault.
Screenwriter Jenny Lumet (Rachel Getting Married, The Mummy) – who is the daughter of late director Sidney Lumet and the granddaughter of singer Lena Horne – claims Simmons raped her in 1991 when she was 24.
Back in the early ’90s, Lumet and Simmons traveled in similar social circles, but had never spent any time alone when the music mogul offered her a ride home from a NYC restaurant.
“I gave the driver my address on 19th Street and 2nd Avenue. You said to the driver: ‘No.'” Lumet wrote in The Hollywood Reporter. “Then, the car doors locked. I couldn’t open the doors. I couldn’t open the windows. The car was moving. The driver did not stop. He did not take me to 19th Street. He took me to your apartment.”
Lumet recalls feeling scared and dread as Simmons and his driver surrounded her as they made their way into the back entrance of the Def Jam founder’s home.
Lumet revealed “there was penetration” and reiterated that “at no time that night did I say: ‘Russell, I will go home with you.’ Or, ‘Come home with me.’ Or ‘I will have sex with you.’ Or ‘I have the desire to have sex with you.'”
In response to Lumet’s account, Simmons released a statement.
“While her memory of that evening is very different from mine, it is now clear to me that her feelings of fear and intimidation are real. While I have never been violent, I have been thoughtless and insensitive in some of my relationships over many decades, and I sincerely apologize.”
He continued: “This is a time of great transition. The voices of the voiceless, those who have been hurt or shamed, deserve and need to be heard. As the corridors of power inevitably make way for a new generation, I don’t want to be a distraction, so I am removing myself from the businesses that I founded. The companies will now be run by a new and diverse generation of extraordinary executives who are moving the culture and consciousness forward. I will convert the studio for yogic science into a not-for-profit center of learning and healing. As for me, I will step aside and commit myself to continuing my personal growth, spiritual learning and above all to listening.”
Earlier this month, model Keri Claussen Khalighi accused Simmons of sexually assaulting her in an LA Times story. Simmons denied her allegations.