Photo by Brett Weinstein
Russell Simmons has stepped down from his various businesses after the latest allegation of the hip-hop mogul’s sexual misconduct. The accusation was detailed by screenwriter Jenny Lumet (Rachel Getting Married, The Mummy) in a guest column for The Hollywood Reporter. Lumet claims Simmons sexually violated her in 1991 when she was 24 years old.
In a response to Lumet’s allegation, Simmons said through a statement that he didn’t share the same recollection of the evening in question, but admitted that “it is now clear to me that her feelings of fear and intimidation are real.”
He continued, “While I have never been violent, I have been thoughtless and insensitive in some of my relationships over many decades and I sincerely apologize.”
Simmons then announced he was “removing myself from the businesses that I founded” in favor of “a new and diverse generation of extraordinary executives who are moving the culture and consciousness forward.”
Finally, Simmons said he would “commit myself to continuing my personal growth, spiritual learning and above all to listening.”
In Lumet’s account of the incident, she alleged Simmons offered her a ride home one evening from the New York City restaurant Indochine. However, instead of bringing her home, the driver was instructed by Simmons to bring them to his apartment. From there, Lumet alleges Simmons took her into the elevator and then his bedroom by force, where she says “there was penetration.” Read the full column here.
Earlier this month, it was revealed Russell Simmons was investigated for alleged sexual battery in 2001 alongside disgraced Hollywood director Brett Ratner. Just a few weeks later, a Los Angeles Times report accused Simmons of forcing himself upon a then 17-year-old Keri Claussen Khalighi in 1991 while Ratner stood idly by.
Lumet’s column was prompted by Simmons’ denial of the latter incident. In addition to being an accomplished screenwriter in her own right, she is the daughter of filmmaker Sidney Lumet and granddaughter of singer/activist Lena Horne.