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Very Real Celebrities

Russell Simmons Accused of Rape By Daughter of MLK Jr.'s Former Attorney

Alexia Norton Jones, the granddaughter of publishing magnate W.W. Norton has accused Russell Simmons of raping her in 1990.

By Noah Hurowitz

Hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons has been accused of rape by the granddaughter of book publisher W. W. Norton. 

Alexia Norton Jones said in an interview with Variety that Simmons raped her in his Manhattan penthouse after a date in 1990, describing in detail Simmon's "attack."

"I remember being pushed up against a wall. He pulled my dress up. I must have said no seven to 10 times, and then I acquiesced. It was very fast. I would say it happened in less than 10 minutes," Jones told Variety.

She also spoke of the complex feelings of shame she felt in the years following the alleged assault.

“I was a gem,” she told magazine. “And he turned me into dirt.”

Simmons denies Jones' accusations and told Variety he is "deeply saddened by them."

In the interview, Jones said she knew Simmons through her father, Clarence Jones, who served as an attorney for Martin Luther King Jr., as well as seeing him out and about in the 1980s club scene. She described him as “wallpaper,” a constant presence in jeans and sneakers who hustled to get his records played but didn’t stand out on the social circuit.

As his stature grew, Simmons began to court Jones — despite having a girlfriend — calling her “incessantly," she told Variety. Finally, after she understood he and the other woman were no longer together, she agreed to go on a date with him in November 1990, she said

Toward the end of that night, Simmons invited Jones up to his penthouse for a view of the city, she told Variety. But once they were up there, Simmons began getting aggressive, pushing her against the wall, something she likened to being “attacked by a flabby walrus,” according to Variety.

“It was such a fast attack. It was literally an attack,” Jones told Variety. 

In the wake of the incident, and in the years that followed, Jones said she felt a great deal of shame, combined with the fact that she felt that it would be bad for the black community to accuse him publicly.

“We black women in the community didn’t want him to fail. We wanted him to succeed,” she said, according to Variety. “As a black woman, we are told we have less value in society already. And then you have someone who is supposed to be a leader, and what he did to me.”

But in November, similar accusations began to come out. Simmons stepped down from his various companies in November, after screenwriter Jenny Lumet accused him of “sexually violating” her. Since then, more than a dozen women have accused him of rape, sexual assault or other misconduct.

In an interview with the New York Times, Jones said she felt capable of coming forward after seeing that she wasn’t the only person to have survived an alleged attack by Simmons.

“I thought I was the only one,” she said, according to the Times.

Jones filed a police report with the NYPD last spring, despite the statue of limitations having expired, as a way to show solidarity with Simmons' other accusers, she told Variety. She added that she's not seeking any monetary compensation in the case. 

Simmons has denied wrongdoing in the previous cases, and once again denied the accusations of Jones in a statement to Variety.

“I’m deeply saddened by this story from Alexia,” Simmons said, according to Variety. “At no time did she share these feelings about her first sexual encounter with me, which took place roughly 28 years ago. I have taken multiple lie detector tests that affirm I never sexually assaulted anyone. Alexia and I dated, were intimate and attended multiple events together after she alleges the incident occurred in 1990. I considered her a friend for all these years and continue to have a warm relationship with members of her family. I believe we last spoke in 2006 when she called to express her disappointment over the fact that I had not attended an event honoring her father.”

A representative for Simmons told Variety that his longtime driver recalled the record mogul and Jones dating over a period of about five months around 1990, and that he drove the pair on “10 to 12” occasions.

Jones denied dating Simmons, and said that while she had never told him her side of the experience, she had confided in her therapist at the time, who confirmed to Variety that Jones had spoken about the experience.

On Twitter Monday afternoon, Simmons posted this:

Jones, for her part, told the Times that she has forgiven Simmons, but added that he “doesn’t get to be my jailor,” and that Simmons’ repeated denials motivated her to speak out.

“It just infuriated me,” she said, according to the Times. “I can’t be quiet.”

{Photo: Getty Images]

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