Nine more women have accused Russell Simmons of sexual assault, including rape, since the first round of allegations emerged last month, forcing the music mogul to remove himself from his companies.
As reported by Black Enterprise:
“In November, model Keri Claussen Khalighi accused Simmons of rape back in 1991 when she was 17 years old. Days after he denied the allegations, Jenny Lumet, a screenwriter and the granddaughter of legendary entertainer Lena Horne, wrote a chilling column in The Hollywood Reporter detailing the night she was allegedly assaulted by the co-founder of Def Jam. In response, Simmons issued an apology and stepped down from his position as the CEO of Rush Communications and various other companies.”
Now, weeks later, another batch of women have charged the 60-year-old business titan of sexual misconduct over the course of three decades. In a bombshell report published by The New York Times on Wednesday, three women charged Simmons with a rape, while one claims to be a victim of forceful groping in 2014. The Los Angeles Times also released a damning exposé Wednesday in which five additional women disclosed encounters of assault. One accused him of rape.
As a result of the charges, the New York Police Department launched an investigation against the embattled activist. “We were made aware of the alleged crime through the media, and we anticipate there will be more who come forward,” said an NYPD source, according to The Los Angeles Times. “We’re in the process of setting up interviews and if any victims want to come forward, they should contact us.”
One of the accusers, Natashia Williams-Blach, an actress who appeared in the 1997 film How to Be a Player which Simmons produced, told The Los Angeles Times that he attempted to force her to perform oral sex when she was 18 years old.
Former singer-turned-lawyer Tina Baker claims Simmons raped her in the early ’90s while he was managing her career. She said the incident left her traumatized. “I didn’t have sex with a man for almost nine years. I went into a cocoon,” she told The New York Times.
Drew Dixon, a former executive at Def Jam, accused Simmons of “prolonged and aggressive sexual harassment” in the ’90s and rape before she quit the company.
Christina Moore says Simmons allegedly ran his hands “all over my body, up and down” after luring her and a friend inside of his hotel room at the Soho Beach House in 2014.
In response, Simmons has denied all of the allegations, telling The New York Times:
“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,” he wrote in a statement. “I have re-dedicated myself to spiritual learning, healing and working on behalf of the communities to which I have devoted my life. I have accepted that I can and should get dirt on my sleeves if it means witnessing the birth of a new consciousness about women.” He added, “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.”
He also vowed to “hold his accusers” accountable in an Instagram post that includes the hashtag #NotMe.