Russell Simmons steps away from companies amid misconduct claims

Russell Simmons backed down from his company after he was accused by another woman of an unwanted sexual encounter.

(Chris Pizzello/Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

Russell Simmons is stepping away from his companies amid allegations he forced screenwriter Jenny Lumet into an unwanted sexual encounter.

The Def Jam co-founder was the subject of a guest column in The Hollywood Reporter by Lumet, who claimed the music producer made her come to his apartment and allegedly had an unwanted sexual encounter with her.

Lumet, who penned the films “Rachel Getting Married” and “The Mummy,” said Simmons was an acquaintance since 1987 after having met him through fellow Def Jam co-founder Rick Rubin.

The music business pro reportedly offered Lumet a ride home, but refused to go to her address and instead ordered his driver to take her to his apartment, despite her repeatedly saying “no.”

Russell Simmons accused of coercing model into oral sex in 1991

“I couldn’t open the doors. I couldn’t open the windows. The car was moving. The driver did not stop … He took me to your apartment,” Lumet, daughter of the famous director Sidney Lumet wrote in her account.

“I simply did what I was told,” she recalled. “There was penetration.”

Lumet explained that she hurried, got her clothes and left after Simmons ejaculated and never shared the story until Oct. 27 after allegations started coming out about Harvey Weinstein. 

Hours after the story emerged, Simmons announced he would step away from all of his businesses.

Russell Simmons’ accuser says consensual sex claim is ‘ludicrous’

Jenny Lumet accused Russell Simmons of sexually violating her back in 1991 in a guest column for The Hollywood Reporter on Thursday.

(Cindy Ord/Getty Images for Tribeca Film Festival)

“I have been informed with great anguish of Jenny Lumet’s recollection about our night together in 1991,” Simmons said in a statement released by his representatives.

“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. 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.”

Lumet’s account comes after former model Keri Claussen Khalighi claimed Simmons assaulted her that same year while Brett Ratner was in the room.

She told the Los Angeles Times that she was 17 at the time of the alleged encounter and that Simmons sexually assaulted her in the shower after forcing her to perform oral sex while Ratner watched. Khalighi said Simmons first tried to force her to have sex as he violently pulled off her clothes.

Russell Simmons’ statement regarding model’s sex abuse accusation

“I fought wildly,” she recalled.

Simmons denied that his encounter with Khalighi was non-consensual.

The 60-year-old founded his empire Rush Communications in 1991 and created the clothing line Phat Farm the following year. Under the Rush umbrella are his All Def Digital company, his Def Pictures film company, a jewelry company, the Simmons Design Group, GlobalGrind.com and his yoga studio Tantris, along with several other philanthropic efforts like the Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation and the Diamond Empowerment Fund.

His Def Jam Recordings company, which he runs with Rubin, features artists like Nas, Big Sean, Ludacris, Vince Staples, Iggy Azalea and countless others.

He was also the brains behind the popular reality series “Run’s House” that followed his brother Joseph “Rev Run” Simmons and his family. The show aired on MTV from 2005 to 2009.

Russell Simmons created the show, along with Sean (Diddy) Combs.

Simmons said he would now be handing over his companies to a “diverse generation of extraordinary executives.”

He was previously married to Kimora Lee Simmons from 1998 to 2009. The pair share two children Aoki, 15, and Ming, 17.

Read Russell Simmons’ statement in full:

I have been informed with great anguish of Jenny Lumet’s recollection about our night together in 1991.  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. 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.

This is a time of great transition.  The voices of the voiceless, those who have been hurt or shamed, deserve and need to be heard.  As the corridors of power inevitably make way for a new generation, I don’t want to be a distraction so I am removing myself from the businesses that I founded. The companies will now be run by a new and diverse generation of extraordinary executives who are moving the culture and consciousness forward. I will convert the studio for yogic science into a not-for-profit center of learning and healing. As for me, I will step aside and commit myself to continuing my personal growth, spiritual learning and above all to listening.  

rick rubin

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