×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Russell Simmons Steps Down From Companies Following Sexual Assault Allegation

Russell Simmons is stepping down from his companies after being accused of sexual assault by writer Jenny Lumet. In a guest column in the Hollywood Reporter, Lumet accuses the Def Jam co-founder of forcing her to have sex in 1991. In a statement, Simmons said he had a different recollection of their encounter, but said Lumet’s “feelings of fear and intimidation are real.” He apologized to Lumet, who is the daughter of director Sidney Lumet and the screenwriter behind “Rachel Getting Married.”

“There is so much guilt, and so much shame,” Lumet wrote in her column. “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.”

For his part, Simmons said, “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.”

In addition to his music work, Simmons is a successful film and television producer and the founder of such clothing fashion lines as Phat Farm and Tantris. This isn’t the first time he has been accused of harassment or assault. Earlier this month, model Keri Claussen Khalighi accused Simmons of forcing her to have sex. She said the businessman worked in conjunction with director Brett Ratner to lure her to his apartment. Another woman, Tanya Reid, also accused Simmons of pressuring her to perform oral sex on Ratner. Both men deny the allegations.

Simmons did say the culture is going through “a time of great transition,” and said he did not want to be a distraction from the work of his companies. He also plans to convert a studio he founded for yogic science into a not-for-profit center of learning and healing.

“The companies will now be run by a new and diverse generation of extraordinary executives who are moving the culture and consciousness forward,” said Simmons, adding, “As for me, I will step aside and commit myself to continuing my personal growth, spiritual learning, and, above all, to listening.”

Simmons is the latest high profile figure to become engulfed in a sexual harassment or assault scandal. In recent weeks, Kevin Spacey, Harvey Weinstein, Matt Lauer, Charlie Rose, and John Lasseter have all been dogged by claims of sexual misdeeds or crimes.

More Music

  • Carrie Underwood House

    Carrie Underwood Lists Former Mansion Outside Nashville (EXCLUSIVE)

    Pop country music queen Carrie Underwood has listed her lavishly appointed mansion in a guard-gated golf course development in the affluent suburban community of Brentwood, Tenn., about 20 miles south of downtown Nashville, for $1.45 million. The seven-time Grammy winning fourth season “American Idol” winner isn’t seeking much profit on the property she bought for [...]

  • Here’s How Much Money 10 Artists

    Here’s How Much Money 10 Artists Are Owed by PledgeMusic

    For eight years, PledgeMusic was a success story: A direct-to-fan platform where artists worked directly with their audiences to fund their albums, tours and all stripes of merchandise, with fans able to purchase everything from custom guitar picks to private concerts. Yet last June, Variety broke the news that the company is struggling to pay [...]

  • R. Kelly

    R. Kelly Charged With Multiple Counts of Sexual Abuse

    UPDATED: The Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx announced criminal charges against R. Kelly at a press conference this afternoon. The singer has been charged with 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse involving four victims — three of whom were minors — in incidents that took place between 1998 and 2010; he will have [...]

  • Lil Pump Harverd Dropout cover

    Album Review: Lil Pump's 'Harverd Dropout'

    On the cover of “Harverd Dropout,” the sophomore album from Miami rapper Lil Pump, the young MC is tossing homework papers in the air and looking rakish with his graduation cap askew, while wearing a robe emblazoned with the misspelled university name from his new full-length’s title. If this is meant to signal some sort [...]

  • Imagine Dragons - Dan ReynoldsImagine Dragons

    Imagine Dragons Topples Nickelback as World's Worst Band, Says Slipknot Frontman

    Slipknot and Stone Sour frontman Corey Taylor has chosen Nickelback’s successor as the most reviled band on earth: Imagine Dragons. During an interview on Tuesday, February 19, conducted by Sex Pistols guitarist Steve Jones for his  radio show, “Jonesy’s Jukebox,” on Los Angeles’ KLOS, Jones made a comment about Nickelback being the “scapegoat of rock [...]

  • Behind the Hit: How Diplo Found

    Hitmaker of the Month: How Diplo Found Dance-Pop Perfection With 'Electricity'

    The third time was a charm for super-producer duo Silk City, the first collaboration between longtime friends Diplo (A.K.A. Thomas Wesley Pentz, Jr.) and Mark Ronson, who between them have worked with everyone from M.I.A. and Madonna and Beyonce (Diplo) to Lady Gaga and Amy Winehouse and Bruno Mars (Ronson). After releasing the pair of [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content