UPDATED: Music mogul and entrepreneur Russell Simmons, who has been accused of rape or sexual misconduct by multiple women, as recounted in the recent documentary “On the Record,” appeared on “The Breakfast Club” Wednesday morning — and the Time’s Up movement and one of his accusers were quick to respond. The organization was founded in 2018 in the wake of multiple allegations of sexual assault and harassment against film producer Harvey Weinstein; Drew Dixon and Sil Lai Abrams are among the multiple accusers who appear in “On the Record.”
In the interview, Simmons spoke often of his daughters and spun the accusations against him.
“I want my daughters to know how to say no, and I want my daughters to put up boundaries and be strong and be leaders,” he said at one point, prompting an enraged response from Dixon, a former music executive who worked for Simmons.
“Teaching your daughters to have ‘boundaries’ and say ‘no’ won’t protect them from rapists like you @UncleRUSH I said ‘NO’… ‘STOP’… ‘PLEASE’… ‘I’M BEGGING YOU’… and CRIED, while you ripped off my clothes, pinned me down and told me to stop fighting. F— all the way off,” Dixon wrote on Twitter.
In a long Twitter thread, Abrams said: “Toxic is an understatement. Shame on @breakfastclubam @cthagod @djenvy and @angelayee
for giving this man a pass and being blatant rape apologists. Black women’s lives matter, too.”
Time’s Up responded with a statement and an itemized list of several of Simmons’ statements during the interview and its responses to them.
“Immediately before an emotional conversation about police brutality against Black women on ‘The Breakfast Club’ this morning, Russell Simmons peddled numerous myths about sexual assault, stereotypes about Black women, and distortions of facts in denying the multiple sexual assault allegations against him,” the statement reads in part.
Reps for Simmons could not immediately be reached.
Time’s Up categorically listed his statements and responses to them, presented in part below.
Simmons: “These stories are 25 to 40 years old.”
Time’s Up: It often takes time for survivors to come forward to anyone, let alone to the authorities. Failure to disclose sexual assault immediately does not mean it never happened.
The vast majority of sexual assaults are never reported to authorities: RAINN estimates that out of every 1,000 sexual assault cases, only 230 are reported to the police. And for every Black woman who reports rape, at least 15 do not report. (However, two-thirds of survivors eventually disclose sexual assault to informal systems, usually family, friends, or romantic partners.)
Simmons: “Back then, I thought it was a game…. There were no Black actresses that I didn’t date and they’re my friends today…. They don’t have the experience of me being a monster the movie makes me out to be.”
Time’s Up: Sexual assault is most often committed by people known to, and often trusted by, their victims. Research also shows that one in three women and one in six men experience some form of sexual violence in their lifetime. As many as six in 10 Black women report being subjected to coercive sexual contact by age 18 and Black women experience sexual harassment at work at three times the rate of white women. Of women who are raped, over half (51 percent) are raped by an intimate partner and 40 percent are raped by an acquaintance. Finally, only two to eight percent of rapes are falsely reported (the percentage is the same for other felonies).
Simmons: “I want my daughters to have proper boundaries, because toxic femininity is when one perhaps may not put up those boundaries and may regret it later.”
Time’s Up: Since slavery, sexual violence and stereotypes have been used as tools of oppression and have devalued Black women in our society. Rape of Black women was for centuries both widespread and institutionalized, and the legal system — itself often weaponized by white people — offered little protection for Black rape victims.
Russell Simmons: “I can never say that someone doesn’t feel victimized. I can tell you that I don’t feel that I victimized them.”
Time’s Up: Most sexual abusers are repeat offenders. Once a few stories became public, other women came forward to allege that Simmons committed sexual misconduct, ranging from harassment to attempted or completed rape. This fact does not diminish the victims’ credibility in any way.
[Russell, how many women have come forward at this point and accused you of sexual assault?] Simmons: “Six or seven.”
Time’s Up: Leading news publications point toward a pattern of predation, with at least 15 women alleging sexual misconduct, and many alleging rape, at his hands, dating from 1983 to 2016: Dixon, Sherri Hines, Lisa Kirk, Toni Sallie, Alexia Norton Jones, Keri Claussen Khalighi, Jenny Lumet, and Tina Baker, Sil Lai Abrams, Tanya Reid, Natashia Williams-Blach, Erin Beattie, Christina Moore, Jennifer Jarosik and Amanda Seales.