Russell Simmons is stepping down from his thriving businesses after being accused of sexual assault by screenwriter Jenny Lumet. In a guest column published by the Hollywood Reporter, Lumet accused the Def Jam co-founder of intimidating her to have sex with him back in 1991.
Jenny Lumet is the daughter of director Sidney Lumet and also the screenwriter behind Rachel Getting Married. Lumet expressed the turmoil she experienced following her encounter with Russell Simmons.
“There is so much guilt, and so much shame… 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.”
Following Jenny’s guest post, Russell Simmons issued a statement and stated that he knows Jenny and her family. Simmons also added that he had seen Jenny Lumet several times following the evening she described.
Simmons posted his statement on Instagram and said that he had a different recollection of their experience, but added that Lumet’s “feelings of fear and intimidation are real,” according to Variety.
Russell noted that Jenny’s memory of that evening was very different from his recollection of that night.
“While her memory of that evening is very different from mine.”
Simmons did take some responsibility in his role in the sexual assault allegations and apologized, “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.”
Russell Simmons said, “The voices of the voiceless, those who have been hurt or shamed, deserve and need to be heard.”
In addition to his work in music, Simmons is a movie and television producer who is the creator of various clothing lines including, Phat Farm and Tantris. This is not the first time Simmons has been accused of harassment or assault.
At the beginning of this month, Keri Claussen Khalighi accused Simmons of forcing her to have intercourse with him. The model stated that Russell Simmons worked together with director Brett Ratner to lure her into his apartment.
A woman named Tanya Reid also accused Simmons of forcing her to perform oral intercourse on Brett Ratner. Both men vehemently denied the sexual assault allegations.
Simmons did state that the civilization is going through “a time of great transition,” and stated he didn’t wish to become a distraction from the work he has put into his businesses.
In the Instagram post published on November 3o, Simmons also explained his intentions to convert a studio that he set for yogic science to some non-profit center for healing and learning.
“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 that he would be stepping aside to commit to his personal growth, spiritual learning, and becoming a better listener.
Russell Simmons is the latest high profile figure to become engulfed in a sexual harassment or assault scandal. Recently, Kevin Spacey, Harvey Weinstein, Matt Lauer, Charlie Rose, and John Lasseter have all been hit with claims of sexual misdeeds or offenses.