Hip Hop pioneer and entertainment mogul Russell Simmons has announced he will be stepping down from overseeing his vast commercial empire, amid a worsening sex scandal that has the Def Jam legend out here looking like a perv.
Screenwriter Jenny Lumet wrote an extensive and detailed article for The Hollywood Reporter published today in which she alleges she was sexually assaulted by Simmons in 1991.
Lumet claimed Simmons had pursued her off and on “for years”.
Lumet described an alleged encounter that she said left her feeling helpless–and violated.
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.”
There was penetration. At one point you were only semi-erect and appeared frustrated. Angry? I remember being afraid that you would deem that my fault and become violent. I did not know if you were angry, but I was afraid that you were.
You told me to turn over on my stomach. You said something about a part of my body. You did not ejaculate inside me.”
When it was over, I got my clothes and quickly went down in the elevator by myself. You didn’t try to stop me. I went home in a taxi. I was grateful to be secure in my home. I never told anyone this story until October 27th of this year (after the Harvey Weinstein story was in the news, but weeks before the first public claims were made against you), when I told a girlfriend from childhood”.–Excerpted From The Hollywood Reporter
Simmons has not denied having sex with Lumet. In a statement, he suggests the encounter may have been consensual–but he does admit he’s been “thoughtless and insensitive” in some of his relationships in the past.
“I know Jenny and her family and have seen her several times over the years since the evening she described. 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 and humbly apologize.”
This is actually the second time Simmons has been accused of sexual misconduct; earlier this month, model Keri Claussen Khalighi claimed Simmons and director Brett Ratner colluded to sexually assault her as well.
Simmons “completely and unequivocally” denied those allegations, according to USA Today.
Long known for his support of women’s, LGBT and civil rights, Simmons has now ironically found himself caught up in a widening sex controversy that has already saw the fall of several big-name celebrities such as Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby, Bill O’Reilly, and just yesterday, Matt Lauer.
Simmons said he will now let younger people who haven’t been accused of sexual misconduct handle his business for now.
He probably had no choice:
“This is a time of great transition… I don’t want to be a distraction so I am removing myself from the businesses that I founded,” he wrote. ” As for me, I will step aside and commit myself to continuing my personal growth, spiritual learning and above all to listening.”