In response to the newest sexual assault allegation levied against him, Russell Simmons is stepping down from his companies. The Def Jam Recordings founder and Rush Communications CEO issued a statement Thursday saying he plans to “commit myself to continuing my personal growth, spiritual learning and above all to listening.”
“I have been informed with great anguish of Jenny Lumet’s recollection about our night together in 1991,” Simmons said in a Thursday, Nov. 30 statement obtained by various media outlets. “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.”
Hollywood Sexual Assault Fallout
Simmons’ statement comes after Lument, writer of the films “Rachel Getting Married” and “The Mummy,” published an open letter to The Hollywood Reporter detailing her sexual assault by Simmons.
In it, she alleged Simmons had offered to take her home one night and instead locked her in the car and took her to his apartment. Luiment said she stopped protesting and “simply did what I was told.”
“There was penetration,” she wrote. “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.”
“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. You told me to turn over on my stomach. You said something about a part of my body. You did not ejaculate inside me. When it was over, I got my clothes and quickly went down in the elevator by myself. You didn’t try to stop me. I went home in a taxi.”
The allegation follows another published Sunday, Nov. 19 by the Los Angeles Times, in which model Keri Claussen Khalighi claimed she had fought “wildly” to stop Simmons from having penetrative sex with her and “just acquiesced” when he allegedly forced her to have oral sex.
Another woman, Tanya Reid, claimed Simmons was involved in enabling movie producer Brett Ratner to sexually assault her.
The mogul’s statement at the time were similar to his latest remarks stating his recollection of those incidents are different than his accuser’s. But this time, he’s decided to also take a leave much like others who have been accused before him, Disney Pixar head John Lasseter.