Russell Simmons Accused Of Rape, Violence & Misconduct By 9 More Women
Russell Simmons is the latest celebrity to have sexual assault allegations levied against him as multiple women have come forward accusing the hip-hop producer of rape, sexual harassment and assault.
Some of the incidents detailed in reports published in The New York Times and Los Angeles Times include Simmons allegedly exposing his erect penis to a female colleague and a masseuse, attacking a woman and pushing an alleged victim into a broom closet. The alleged incidents date as far back as 1983 and as recent as 2016.
At least four of the victims say Simmons raped them.
Simmons, 60, denied the claims reported in the L.A. Times and New York Times.
After the articles were published, the entrepreneur and producer posted a statement on Instagram along with an image of bold text that reads, “I have never had a sexual encounter that was not consensual or lawful. Ever.”
Simmons then gave a statement to the Los Angeles Times further denying the accusations. “These new stories range from patently untrue to frivolous and hurtful claims. I want to restate categorically what I have said previously: I have never been violent or abusive to any women in any way at any time in my entire life.”
Drew Dixon, a former music executive for Def Jam, the hip-hop label Simmons co-founded, told The New York Times that Simmons raped her in his downtown Manhattan apartment one night after a record they produced went platinum in 1995.
Dixon recounted that she rejected Simmons’ sexual advances several times that night and even told him that she was unable to have sex because of a recent gynecological procedure. Dixon soon resigned from Def Jam.
“I was broken,” she told the Times.
Three other women accused the mogul of sexual misconduct in the New York Times report, including Tina Baker, who said Simmons raped her in the early ‘90s while managing her singing career; Toni Sallie, who said Simmons “physically attacked” and raped her in his room in 1988; and Christina Moore, who said Simmons led her and her friend to his hotel room at the Soho Beach House in 2014, and threatened to tie her up for being a bad girl.
Simmons’ alleged misconduct was not only in his role as a music executive. As the L.A Times points out, Simmons also allegedly abused his power as the head of his West Hollywood yoga studio, Tantris, which he opened in November 2016.
Two former employees of Tantris told the publication that Simmons sexualized the physical, spiritual, and mental exercises and used the studio to pursue women.
Karen Russell, Tantris’ former general manager who quit in February, said that Simmons pursued a yoga teacher to the point of harassment even though she had a boyfriend. When Russell brought the information to her bosses, she said she was told it was common behavior for Simmons.
“You have to understand, we go back to the Def Jam days. This is Russell, he loves young models,” Russell said, recalling her conversation with her bosses to the L.A. Times. [We’ve] always been able to handle it and clean up his mess.”
The L.A. Times’ report also detailed two alleged incidents that happened years before Simmons opened the yoga studio.
According to the report, actress Natashia Williams-Blach alleges that Simmons attempted to force her to perform oral sex on him in 1996, after the two took a yoga class. Williams-Blach appeared in the 1997 Def Jam-produced film How To Be a Player.
Another accuser, Sherri Hines, who performed under the stage name Sheri Sher in the ’80s, said the hip-hop producer invited her to see his New York office and raped her there.
“The next thing I knew, he was pinning me down and I was trying to fight him and he had his way,” Hines told the L.A. Times. “I left crying.”
The Times report also includes statements from Erin Beattie, a massage therapist who said Simmons asked her to touch his penis during a session, and an unnamed former Tantris yoga instructor who quit because of Simmons’ misconduct.
Simmons’ behavior came under fire last month after a public accusation by model Keri Claussen Khalighi. Khalighi accused the rap mogul of sexually assaulting her and intimidating her into performing oral sex on him in 1991 when she was 17 years old. Shortly after Khalighi’s accusation, screenwriter Jenny Lumet wrote a piece accusing Simmons of having sex with her without consent.
Following the accusations last month, Simmons stepped down from his entertainment and clothing companies.
He wrote to The New York Times and on Instagram: “The presumption of innocent until proven guilty must not be replaced by ‘Guilty by Accusation.’”
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