Russell Simmons is the latest Hollywood power player to be accused of sexual misconduct, and now, the media mogul is stepping down from the companies he founded.
On Thursday, a woman named Jenny Lumet wrote a column published by the Hollywood Reporter, detailing the night back in 1991 Simmons allegedly sexually violated her.
According to Lumet, Simmons offered to give her a ride home while in New York, but instead, he took her back to his place. “I couldn’t open the doors. I couldn’t open the windows. The car was moving. The driver did not stop. He did not take me to 19th Street. He took me to your apartment,” she wrote.
In fear, she eventually entered Simmons building. “You didn’t punch me, drag me or verbally threaten me. You used your size to maneuver me, quickly, into the elevator. I said ‘Wait. Wait.’ I felt dread,” she said. “I was very, very sad. I didn’t know if the driver was a further threat, or an ally. I was both relieved and terrified when he did not get into the elevator. Alone in the elevator, you pressed me into the corner with your body, your hands and your mouth.”
That’s when according to Jenny, Simmons guided her into his apartment. “There was penetration. I desperately wanted to keep the situation from escalating. I wanted you to feel that I was not going to be difficult. I wanted to stay as contained as I could,” she said.
Lumet, the screenwriter of Rachel Getting Married and The Mummy, continued, “I desperately wanted to keep the situation from escalating. I wanted you to feel that I was not going to be difficult. I wanted to stay as contained as I could.”
Following the shocking account, Russell released a statement suggesting that while Jenny’s telling of the story was “different than mine,” it is now clear that her “feelings of great and intimidation are real.”
That’s when he announced his resignation. “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,” he explained. “The companies will now be fun by a new and diverse generation of extraordinary executives who are moving the culture and consciousness forward.”
He concluded, “I will step aside and commit myself to continuing my personal growth, spiritual learning and above all to listening.”
This is not the first time Simmons as been accused of sexual misconduct. Earlier this month, the co-founder of Def Jam Recordings was accused of sexual assault and harassment by model Keri Claussen Khaligh. To those claims, Simmons released the following statement:
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