Russell Simmons is stepping down from all his companies following a third sexual assault allegation against him in the past month.
The most recent sexual assault allegation against Russell Simmons comes from Hollywood writer Jenny Lumet, who accused him of an incident that happened in 1991.
Lumet, who detailed the incident in an article for The Hollywood Reporter, claimed that Simmons offered her a chauffeured ride home in 1991. When she got in the car, however, Simmons told his driver to lock the doors, took Lumet to his apartment and sexually assaulted her.
“At no time that night did I say: ‘Russell, I will go home with you,'” Lumet writes. “Or, ‘Come home with me.’ Or ‘I will have sex with you.’ Or ‘I have the desire to have sex with you.'”
She added that she was scared he would get violent with her, and let him do what he wanted.
She writes: “You moved me into a bedroom. I said “Wait.” You said nothing. I made the trade in my mind. I thought “just keep him calm and you’ll get home.” Maybe another person would have thought differently, or not made the trade.
“It was dark, but not pitch dark. You closed the door. At that point, I simply did what I was told.
“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.”
Shortly after the article was published, Simmons released a statement announcing his decision to step down. He however didn’t state that he was guilty of Lumet’s accusations.
“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,” Simmons wrote.
“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.
“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,” he continued. ” … As for me, I will step aside and commit myself to continuing my personal growth, spiritual learning and above all to listening.”
His companies include Rush Communications, hip-hop music label Def Jam Recordings, and clothing fashion lines Phat Farm, Argyleculture, and Tantris.
Earlier this month, The Los Angeles Times reported that Keri Claussen Khalighi accused Simmons and director Brett Ratner – who stepped away from his Warner Brothers activities earlier this month after multiple allegations of sexual misconduct – of conspiring in an assault against her when she was 17.
Khalighi said that Simmons, who was then about twice her age, tried to force her to have intercourse. “I fought it wildly,” she said. He eventually relented and coerced her to perform oral sex, she alleged. “I guess I just acquiesced.”
Ratner, meanwhile, “just sat there and watched,” she said.
Tanya Reid also accused the two men of harassing her and pressuring her to have sex.
In a statement responding to that story, Simmons said, “I completely and unequivocally deny the horrendous allegations of non-consensual sex against me with every fiber of my being.”