The New York Police Department is “reviewing information” on Russell Simmons after multiple women came forward accusing the Def Jam and Phat Farm of rape and sexual assault.
Reports in the Los Angeles Times and CBS News Thursday said that an investigation has begun, but reached for comment by Variety, NYPD Sgt. Brendan Ryan said: “The NYPD has received information regarding allegations involving Russell Simmons in the NYC area and our detectives are in the process of reviewing that information.”
Sheri Hines, a former member of the group Mercedes Ladies who says Simmons raped her in in 1983, told the Times she had been contacted by the NYPD on Thursday, although she did not respond to further requests for comment.
After the accusations were made public Wednesday — which Simmons denied in a long statement to The New York Times — he deleted his Twitter account and posted a statement on Instagram Thursday.
“Today, I begin to properly defend myself,” Simmons wrote. “I will prove without any doubt that I am innocent of all rape charges. Today, I will focus on ‘The Original Sin’ (Keri Claussen), the claim that created this insane pile on of my #MeToo. Stay tuned! We’ll share evidence today… And tomorrow the case of Jenny Lumet. My intention is not to diminish the #MeToo movement in anyway, but instead hold the accusers accountable. #NotMe.”
Claussen said late in November that Simmons had apologized to her privately for assaulting her in 1991, when she was 17. Simmons has denied her allegation.
In an article published Wednesday, three women told the New York Times that they were raped by Simmons in incidents dating back to 1988. The LA Times has also reported accounts from five new women dating back to the 1980s.
Tina Baker, a singer, alleged that Simmons raped her in the early 1990s, when he was her manager. Drew Dixon claimed that Simmons sexually harassed and then raped her when she was an employee of Def Jam Recordings in 1995. Toni Sallie, a music journalist, said that Simmons raped her in 1988.
Simmons denied the allegations in a statement provided to Variety.
“I vehemently deny all these allegations,” he said. “These horrific accusations have shocked me to my core and all of my relations have been consensual.”
Simmons had already stepped down from his companies, including Rush Communications, following allegations from writer Jenny Lumet, who alleged that he sexually assaulted her in 1991. Variety had earlier reported that Simmons and Brett Ratner were both investigated by the Beverly Hills Police Department for an alleged sexual battery in 2001. The L.A. Times also reported allegations that Ratner and Simmons engaged in sexual misconduct in the early 1990s. Simmons has denied each allegation of non-consensual sex.