Russell Simmons is stepping down from his businesses following sexual assault allegations. The hip-hop mogul, who co-founded Def Jam Records, was accused today of sexual assault by Jenny Lumet, the award-winning screenwriter and daughter of filmmaker Sidney Lumet. As The Hollywood Reporter shared, Simmons said he's leaving his entertainment companies to "commit myself to continuing my personal growth, spiritual learning and above all to listening."
Lumet shared her story in a guest column with the publication. She recounted meeting Simmons back in the '80s and appearing in a film he produced.
"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," she said.
Around 1991, she said that Simmons offered to drive her home. In the car, she alleged that he wouldn't drop her off where she requested: "At no time that night did I say: 'Russell, I will go home with you'. Or, 'Come home with me.' Or 'I will have sex with you.' Or 'I have the desire to have sex with you.'"
She said he led her to his apartment. At that point, he allegedly assaulted her in his bedroom.
"There was penetration. At one point you were only semi-erect and appeared frustrated. Angry? I remember being afraid that you would deem that my fault and become violent. I did not know if you were angry, but I was afraid that you were," she said.
She said that she made the decision to remain calm so she could escape: "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."
Lumet, who is known for her work on "Rachel Getting Married" and "The Mummy," said that she never shared this story until sexual assault allegations were made against Harvey Weinstein.
In his statement, Simmons said, "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."
He added, "While I have never been violent, I have been thoughtless and insensitive in some of my relationships over many decades and I sincerely apologize."
Earlier this month, another woman came forward with sexual assault allegations against Simmons. Keri Claussen Khalighi alleged that Simmons assaulted her when she was a 17-year-old model, following a casting call in 1991. She said that she fought off Simmons, but he briefly penetrated her and that Hollywood director Brett Ratner witnessed the crime.
Simmons denied the allegations.
[Photo: Getty Images]
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