Russell Simmons Stepping Down After Additional Sexual Assault Allegations

Actress and writer Jenny Lumet has written an essay detailing an alleged assault.

Lumet was 24 years old

Def Jam co-founder Russell Simmons will be stepping down. This comes after an essay was published Wednesday in The Hollywood Reporter by actress Jenny Lumet.  The essay claims Simmons took her back to his apartment and forcing her into sex. This allegedly happened around 1991. Lumet was 24 years old. The actress is not the only one that has come out alleging Simmons forced her into sex. Simmons denied previous accusations of sexual coercion made by model Keri Claussen Khalighi.

Hurt, devastated

I have been informed with great anguish of Jenny Lumet’s recollection about our night together in 1991. 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 apologize.

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.

Dear Russell

Here’s an excerpt of the essay by Lumet.  You can read the full essay here.

 

Dear Russell:

I met you around 1987, through Rick Rubin, who has always been kind to me. Rick knew my sister through NYU and asked me, at the upstairs bar in a nightclub called the Palladium, to be in a movie you were producing that Rick was directing, starring RUN DMC. It was, frankly, a lousy movie, and I was terrible in it.

Over the next three or four years, I would see you out and about, at a nightclub called Nell’s mostly. I don’t recall you and I ever just going out to dinner, or having a one-to-one experience; we were always in groups, and we had many, many mutual friends. You were charming and funny and charismatic and self-deprecating. Not being in the music business made it possible for me to relax around you. And you were a fan of my grandmother, respected her, and told me so. You seemed sincere.

You pursued me, lightly, on and off, over a course of years, saying you had a thing for a “little yellow girl” (me). I rebuffed. It wasn’t deep, as far as I knew. It was never a big deal. You had, I assumed, many women in your orbit.

Once you sent me 250 balloons with the note “Please baby, please baby, baby, baby, baby” after a character in a Spike Lee movie. It was light, fun, and flattering. We continued to socialize in the same places. We continued to have a large group of mutual friends.

You had a car and a driver that evening. Sometime later, you offered me a ride to my home. I said, “Sure.” During the making of the RUN DMC movie, I had been in vans with you and other crew members. I don’t recall having accepted a ride home alone with you before that night.

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