Hip hop mogul Russell Simmons has been publicly accused of rape and sexual harassment. We’ve got the disturbing allegations.
At least two women have already come forward to accuse hip hop mogul Russell Simmons, 60, of sexual abuse and now four more women have added their names to that list. In a New York Times expose published on Dec. 13, the former employees detailed allegations of horrific sexual harassment and three of the women accused him of outright rape. They spoke to the publication detailing the pattern of behavior that lasted from 1988 all the way to 2014. One of the alleged victims Drew Dixon said her experience with him in 1995 left her “broken.”
When told of the accusations by the Times, Simmons said “I vehemently deny all these allegations. These horrific accusations have shocked me to my core and all of my relations have been consensual. I have enormous respect for the women’s movement worldwide and their struggle for respect, dignity, equality and power. What I will not accept is responsibility for what I have not done. I have conducted my life with a message of peace and love. Although I have been candid about how I have lived in books and interviews detailing my flaws, I will relentlessly fight against any untruthful character assassination that paints me as a man of violence.”
Dixon was working as an executive at Simmons’ Def Jam Records at the age of 24 when she said that she became the target of “prolonged and aggressive sexual harassment by her direct supervisor, the rap mogul Russell Simmons.” She says that he would talk in disgusting terms about how she around him sexually and accuses him of exposing his erect penis to her. Dixon claims that he raped her in her Manhattan apartment and she left the company soon afterwards, telling the paper ““I was broken.”
Tina Baker was an up and coming singer in the early 1990’s and said had huge dreams when he agreed to manage her, and says that after he allegedly raped her that her singing career vanished. “The second he agreed to work with me, my budget increased, the label was paying more attention to me,” Baker recalled. But after the assault, she said, “I went into oblivion.”
She said that she went back to his NYC apartment with him — someplace she’d been before without incident — and that, “it all got really ugly, pretty fast,” Ms. Baker said. He allegedly tried to kiss the woman and that led to a scuffle when she resisted. She recalled “him on top of me, pushing me down and him saying, ‘Don’t fight me.’” She claims that he pinned her to the bed and that, “I did nothing, I shut my eyes and waited for it to end.” She said that she told friends, relatives and her therapist of the incident after it allegedly occurred. The paper confirmed with them that she did in fact inform them at the time that she had been raped. Simmons, through his lawyer, said he had “no recollection of ever having any sexual relations with Ms. Baker.” You can read about the other accounts in our link to the Times article above.
UPDATE: Along with these three accusations, five more women came forward to the LA Times with other shocking claims against Russell on Dec. 13. An actress named Natashia Williams-Blach claimed that he tried to force her to perform oral sex on him after a yoga class in 1996. A massage therapist named Erin Beattie accused Russell of “exposing himself” and trying to get her to touch his penis while she gave him a massage in 2005. Two employees at Tantris, including former general manager, Karen Russell, alleged that Russell tried to pursue women at the studio when he attended class there.
The most high-profile person to speak out against the music mogul has been acclaimed screenwriter Jenny Lumet. She came forward with a first-person, open letter to Simmons about how he allegedly raped her in 1991, which The Hollywood Reporter published on Nov. 30. She detailed how she was 24 at the time had known Simmons socially, but one night he allegedly forced her to come back to his Manhattan apartment, locking her inside his SUV and using his bodyguard to usher her upstairs. She wrote that he then forced himself on her sexually and Simmons actually did respond to her claims with an apology.
“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,” he said at the time. The accusation caused him to step down from leadership roles at his companies to take time away for self-reflection.
UPDATE #2: Russell has since taken a polygraph test to prove his innocence, according to TMZ. However, just hours after he did, Kelly Cutrone, who has starred in MTV’s The Hills and America’s Next Top Model, claims Russell raped her, she told Page Six.
HollywoodLifers, are you shocked by the latest sexual assault allegations against Russell Simmons?