Russell Simmons Responds To Sexually Assault Accusation “Its False”
After being accused of sexual assault, Russell Simmons has announced that he will be stepping down from his companies.
In a statement announcing his decision, Simmons said that he did not want to be a distraction for his companies at a time when American culture is going through “a time of great transition.”
“The companies will now be run by a new and diverse generation of extraordinary executives who are moving the culture and consciousness forward,” Simmons said in the statement, going on to add, “As for me, I will step aside and commit myself to continuing my personal growth, spiritual learning and above all to listening.”
The hip-hop mogul was accused of forcing writer Jenny Lumet to have sex with him in 1991. Lumet wrote about her experience in a guest column in the Hollywood Reporter.
“There is so much guilt, and so much shame,” Lumet wrote. “There is an excruciating internal reckoning. As a woman of color, I cannot express how wrenching it is to write this about a successful man of color. Again, shame about who I was years ago, choices made years ago. In this very moment, I feel a pang to protect your daughters. I don’t think you are inclined to protect mine.”
Simmons, who has apologized to Lumet for his actions, said that he remembered the encounter differently but that Lumet’s “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,” Simmons said.
Earlier this month, he was also accused of the same accusations by model Keri Claussen Khalighi. She said Simmons and and director Brett Ratner lured her to his apartment where the alleged assault took place. Another woman, Tanya Reid, also accused him of forcing her to perform oral sex on Ratner.
Both Simmons and Ratner denied the allegations.
Model accuses Russell Simmons and Brett Ratner of sexual misconduct Russell Simmons has responded to new accusations of sexual assault by model Keri Claussen Khalighi.
Over the past two months, a number of high profile men in media and government across the U.S. have been taken down women who claimed that they either sexually assaulted them or acted inappropriately. Movie mogul Harvey Weinstein has become the face of despicable men who are being taken down by women. Now Def Jam Recordings founder Russell Simmons is being drawn into the eerie atmosphere of men taking advantage of women without their consent.
Keri Claussen Khalighi told the Los Angeles Times that the music mogul made “aggressive sexual advances” towards her when she was 17 years old. She alleges that the incident took place in 1991 at his apartment. She told the Times that they had dinner in New York that evening before heading back to his place. She claimed that he made unwanted sexual advances towards her and coerced her into performing oral sex and penetrated her in the shower.
“I fought it wildly,” she said. “I guess I just acquiesced.” Ratner “just sat there and watched,” Khalighi said.
Russell Simmons responded with a strongly worded statement vehemently denying the allegations. “Let me be crystal clear and very direct. Abusing women in any way shape or form violates the very core of my being,” he said. “Everything that occurred between Keri and me occurred with her full consent and participation.”
“Wake up to struggle,” Simmons wrote on Instagram. “The yogi learns to smile and breathe in every pose. The long weekend in question 26 years ago had many witnesses, the L.A. Times never used some of the their signed written statements that she spent the night, had lunch with, and went to clubs with multiple witnesses and even stayed in my apartment when I wasn’t there, all after alleged incident. I provided 3 witness statements, maybe they could have been used in the article?”
When 17-year-old fashion model Keri Claussen Khalighi met Brett Ratner and Russell Simmons at a casting call, she was excited.
Ratner was on his way up in the music video industry and a protégé of Simmons, the Def Jam Recordings powerhouse. The men took the young woman to dinner in 1991 in New York and then back to Simmons’ apartment to show her something they had been working on.
That is when Simmons began to make aggressive sexual advances on the girl such as ripping off her clothes.
Khalighi said, “I looked over at Brett and said ‘help me’ and I’ll never forget the look on his face,” she remembers. “In that moment, the realization fell on me that they were in it together.”
Simmons who was about twice her age attempted to force her to have sexual intercourse. “I fought it wildly,” she stated before going to say he then coerced her into performing oral sex. “I guess I just acquiesced.”
According to Khalighi, Ratner just “sat there and watched.”
At that point she said she felt “disgusting” and went to take a shower. Simmons entered the room behind her and briefly penetrated her without her consent. She says that she pulled away and he left, but “it hurt so much.”
Simmons, 60, has disputed her account of that night.
“Everything that occurred between Keri and me occurred with her full consent and participation,” he stated. Much of the two days and one night he spent with her, he said, was in public and with other people. Ratner said he had “no recollection” of Khalighi asking him for help and has denied seeing her “protest,” his attorney Martin Singer said.
Ratner has also denied several other sexual misconduct allegations. The women accusing him say that Ratner had a habit of surrounding himself with powerful men like Simmons and filmmaker James Toback, Roman Polanski and Robert Evans who have all been accused of preying on women.