Russell Simmons Steps Down From Companies After Another Sexual Assault Allegation


For the second time, a woman has said Russell Simmons sexually assaulted her.

In a Hollywood Reporter article, screenwriter Jenny Lumet accused Simmons of forcing her to his apartment and then forcing her into sex in 1991.

According to Lumet, the ordeal began when he offered her a ride home from a restaurant where she worked as a coat check girl. Although Simmons -- who she was friendly with -- had been flirtatious with her in the past, Lumet said she had never indicated any romantic interest.

"I got into the car with you. The driver began to drive. I assumed you knew where I lived, because you had sent me 250 balloons, but I gave the driver my address on 19th Street and 2nd Avenue," Lumet recalled. "You said to the driver: 'No.' I didn’t understand, so I said: 'Russell?' I said, again, to the driver: '19th Street.' Again you said to the driver: 'No. 'Then, the car doors locked. It was loud. The noise made me jump." 

Once delivered to Simmons' apartment, Lumet, who was 23 at the time, said she was scared and felt required to perform sex acts to assure her safety.

"You didn’t punch me, drag me or verbally threaten me.  You used your size to maneuver me, quickly, into the elevator. I said “Wait. Wait.”  I felt dread.  I was very, very sad.  I didn’t know if the driver was a further threat, or an ally. I was both relieved and terrified when he did not get into the elevator. Alone in the elevator, you pressed me into the corner with your body, your hands and your mouth ... 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."

Simmons has responded to the allegations in a statement, in which he stepped down from all of his companies, including Def Jam.

"I have been informed with great anguish of Jenny Lumet's recollection about our night together in 1991," Simmons said in a statement. "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."

The statement continued: "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."

Earlier this month, model Keri Claussen Khaligh told the Los Angeles Times that Simmons forced her to give him oral sex during a casting call in 1991. Simmons denied those allegations.


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