Russell Simmons has announced that he will step down from Def Jam Records and his Phat Farm clothing line, after facing multiple allegations of sexual assault.
Screenwriter Jenny Lumet, is the latest to have accused Simmons. Her accusations come on the heels of former model Keri Claussen Khalighi’s – an incident Simmons denies.
Lumet describes the incident, in detail, within a letter stating that she was offered a ride in his car with a driver. Simmons, gave the driver his address and refused to drive her home after repeatedly asking. Lumet stated that once in Simmons apartment building, he used his size to quickly get her into the elevator. She claims Simmons then had sex with her.
Lumet wrote in her letter,
“At one point you were only semi-erect and appeared frustrated. Angry? I remember being afraid that you would deem that my fault and become violent. I did not know if you were angry, but I was afraid that you were.”
Lumet stated she didn’t come forth with her story until this year, after Harvey Weinstein was in the news. Having never seen any of the women that have spoken out against Simmons, she felt she couldn’t leave those who may have also been sexually harassed by the Def Jam President “twisting in the wind.”
In response to Lumet, Simmons penned the following letter:
“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 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.