Nine women have accused music mogul Russell Simmons of sexual conduct according to bombshell reports published on Wednesday, December 13, in the New York Times and Los Angeles Times. Four of the women accused him of rape.
The allegations against the Def Jam co-founder stem from encounters as far back as 1983 and as recent as 2016.
Simmons, 60, who co-founded the hip hop label Def Jam, went on to build a yoga empire, which included his West Hollywood studio, Tantris. Natashia Williams-Blach, who appeared in Simmons’ movie, How to Be a Player, told the Los Angeles Times that in 1996, after taking her to a yoga class, he attempted to force her to perform oral sex. She was 18 at the time.
Tina Baker, a singer-turned-lawyer, claims Simmons raped her in the early ‘90s while he was managing her career. Music journalist Toni Sallie claims Simmons raped her in 1998 after the two stopped dating. She told the New York Times that he allegedly nvited her to his apartment for a party, but when she arrived, there were no guests. Simmons then proceeded to lead her to his bedroom. “He pushed me on the bed and jumped on top of me, and physically attacked me,” she told the New York Times. “We were fighting. I said no.”
Christina Moore, claimed Simmons lured her and a friend to his hotel room at the Soho Beach House in 2014 and then ran a bath and threatened to her tie her up for being a “bad girl.”
Sherri Hines claims Simmons raped her in his New York office. “The next thing I knew, he was pinning me down and I was trying to fight him and he had his way,” she told the Los Angeles Times. “I left crying.”
Drew Dixon, a former executive for Def Jam, accused Simmons of “prolonged and aggressive sexual harassment” in the ‘90s, which involved regular exposure of his genitals. She alleged that he raped her in his New York apartment. She then quit the company.
Simmons denied all the allegations in the New York Times piece. “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 continued: “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 ben 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.”
Simmons told the Los Angeles Times: “These new stories range from patently untrue to frivolous and hurtful claims. I want to restate categorically what I have said previously: I have never been violent or abusive to any women in any way at any time in my entire life.”
The disgraced entrepreneur stepped down from his businesses in November after screenwriter Jenny Lumet accused him of sexually assaulting her in 1991. She detailed her alleged encounter with Simmons in an open letter published by The Hollywood Reporter.
“I have been informed with great anguish of Jenny Lumet’s recollection about our night together in 1991. I know Jenny and her family and have seen her several times over the years since the evening she described,” Simmons said in statement to Us Weekly on November 30. “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.”