Music Mogul Russell Simmons Faces More Rape And Sexual Misconduct Allegations

By Claudia Rosenbaum

Russell Simmons speaks at a news conference in 2006.

Dima Gavrysh / AP

Nine more women have come forward with allegations that music mogul Russell Simmons raped or sexually harassed them in reports published Wednesday by the New York Times and Los Angeles Times.

Four of the women spoke on the record with the New York Times, emboldened, they said, by the sea change in how victims’ stories have been treated in the wake of allegations against disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein and other high-profile men in entertainment and other industries. Three of the four women who spoke to the Times said Simmons raped them after exhibiting sexually violent and abusive behavior.

Others said they made the decision to come forward after reading Simmons’ denials to earlier allegations, including those made by model Keri Claussen Khalighi, who told the Los Angeles Times in November that Simmons assaulted her after he and film director Brett Ratner took her back to the music mogul’s apartment under the guise of showing her a music video they were working on. In a guest column for the Hollywood Reporter last month, screenwriter Jenny Lumet also accused Simmons of raping her in 1991.

Mike D of the Beastie Boys with Def Jam record producer Russell Simmons, left, in London in 1987.

AP

Taken together, the allegations span from the early 1980s, when Simmons was cementing his status as an elder statesman of hip hop via Def Jam records, to just a few years ago.

Following the allegations by Lumet and Khalighi, Simmons, now 60, announced that he was stepping down from his business empire, including his yoga venture Tantric, so as not to serve as a distraction.

But on Wednesday after the reports by the LA Times and New York Times were published, Simmons issued a much more strongly worded statement denying the accusations.

“I vehemently deny all these allegations. These horrific accusations have shocked me to my core and all of my relations have been consensual,” he said. “I have enormous respect for the women’s movement worldwide and their struggle for respect, dignity, equality and power.”

Allegations of rape

Drew Dixon told the New York Times she was working as an executive at Def Jam Recordings in 1995 when Simmons started to act sexually abusive. Dixon, who was 24 at the time, tried to stave off the harassment until later that year, when she said Simmons raped her in his Manhattan apartment.

She quit her position at Def Jam soon after.

“I was broken,” she told the New York Times.

Toni Sallie was a 28-year-old music journalist for the trade magazine Black Radio Exclusive when she met Simmons while on assignment in 1987. After a few dates, their relationship didn’t work out, she said, but they remained in touch and one night the following year, Simmons invited her to a party at his apartment.

When she arrived, however, she discovered they were alone. She told the Times that while giving her a …read more

Source: news Us

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