Russell Simmons Steps Down From His Businesses After New Sexual Assault Claim

Music mogul Russell Simmons said in a statement Thursday that he was stepping down from the entertainment and clothing companies he founded after another sexual harassment allegation against him.

Writer Jenny Lumet said in a Hollywood Reporter column published Thursday that Simmons sexually violated her in 1991. In her detailed account, Lumet said Simmons offered her a ride home from a New York City restaurant, but took her to his apartment instead.

“Alone in the elevator, you pressed me into the corner with your body, your hands and your mouth,” she wrote. 

Lumet said Simmons then had sex with her without her consent. 

“There was penetration,” she said. “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.”

Simmons, in his statement Thursday, apologized to Lumet:

“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.”

Simmons added that he’s committing himself to “personal growth, spiritual learning and above all to listening.” He’s also converting his yogic science studio into a non-profit “center of learning and healing.”

Earlier this month, model Keri Claussen Khalighi accused Simmons of sexually assaulting her in 1991 when she was 17. She said movie producer Brett Ratner  watched and did nothing to help.

Both Simmons and Ratner were investigated for sexual battery against a 29-year-old woman in 2001, according to Variety.

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