As Rape Allegations Emerge Against Russell Simmons, Some Don’t Know Who to Believe

Simmons had stepped away from his companies when initial sexual harassment allegations against him emerged.

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russell simmons allegations
Russell Simmons is facing more fallout from sexual harassment and rape allegations. (Tiffany Rose/Getty Images for Make A Wish)

Four women have accused DefJam Recordings co-founder Russell Simmons of rape and five others have alleged sexual assault. These are the latest in a series of allegations against Simmons and like those made earlier, he has largely denied their veracity. In turn, the Black community isn’t sure who to believe.

In reports by the Los Angeles Times and the New York Times, nine women have outlined their experiences with the mogul between 1983 and 2014

In a Wednesday, Dec. 13 report in the NYT, Drew Dixon, Tina Baker and Toni Sallie said Simmons raped them and one other woman, Christina Moore, said she was the victim of sexual assault.

Dixon said Simmons regularly exposed himself to her and wound up quitting her executive job at DefJam soon after he allegedly raped her at his apartment. Baker, who released music as Tina B, claimed she “went into oblivion” after Simmons raped her. Sallie, who was a music journalist at Black Radio Exclusive and spoke about the difficulty of breaking into the business as a Black woman, said Simmons “pushed me on the bed and jumped on top of me, and physically attacked me” at his apartment. She said she told him “no,” and he proceeded to have nonconsensual sex with her.

In response, Simmons told The Times in part, “I vehemently deny all these allegations. These horrific accusations have shocked me to my core and all of my relations have been consensual.”

“I am blessed to have shared extraordinary relationships, whether through work or love, with many great women; and I have enormous respect for the women’s movement worldwide and their struggle for respect, dignity, equality and power,” he added.

He also alleged the women who have come forward had financial motives — including one $500,000 extortion attempt by a woman whose statement was recanted.


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“I have already apologized for the instances of thoughtlessness in my consensual relations. … What I will not accept is responsibility for what I have not done. … I will relentlessly fight against any untruthful character assassination that paints me as a man of violence.”

The L.A. Times detailed five other assaults by other women and one, Sherri Hines, who was a member of the all-female hip hop group Mercedes Ladies, alleged Simmons raped her in his office.

“While there are many women with whom I have shared extraordinary relationships, whether through work or love, I regret with my whole heart any conduct that has led anyone to say or think of me in the ways that are currently being written,” Simmons said in a statement to the newspaper.

By Thursday, Simmons had deactivated his Twitter account. But his Instagram account remains active. There, he announced the launch of the #NotMe campaign, where he pledged to provide evidence that he’s innocent of rape, beginning with model Keri Claussen, one of his first accusers.

“My intention is not to diminish the #MeToo movement in anyway, but instead hold my accusers accountable,” he calrified. “#NotMe Again, this is not a movement against or even in conjunction with #Metoo. It’s just a statement about my innocence.”

The rape reports have caused the community to splinter.

Some took the side of the accusers.

 

Others have backed up Simmons and his reasoning for the accusations.

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