Writer Jenny Lumet recently alleged, via a guest column for The Hollywood Reporter, that she was sexually assaulted by Russell Simmons back in 1991 when she was just 24 years old.
“There is so much guilt, and so much shame,” Lumet wrote. “There is an excruciating internal reckoning. As a woman of color, I cannot express how wrenching it is to write this about a successful man of color. Again, shame about who I was years ago, choices made years ago. In this very moment, I feel a pang to protect your daughters. I don’t think you are inclined to protect mine.”
“You didn’t punch me, drag me or verbally threaten me. You used your size to maneuver me, quickly, into the elevator,” she recalled elsewhere in the story. “I said ‘Wait. Wait.’ I felt dread.”
Following the column, which she penned as a letter to Simmons, the hip-hop mogul issued a public apology and announced that he would step down from his various businesses.
Simmons said he recalled the encounter differently, but he acknowledged 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.
Regarding his businesses, Simmons said: “The companies will now be run by a new and diverse generation of extraordinary executives who are moving the culture and consciousness forward. As for me, I will step aside and commit myself to continuing my personal growth, spiritual learning, and, above all, to listening.”
This isn’t the first time Simmons has been accused of harassment or assault. Earlier this month, model Keri Claussen Khalighi came forward with allegations that he forced her to have sex. She was 17 at the time. Khalighi claimed Simmons worked alongside director Brett Ratner to lure her to his apartment, and once there, says that Simmons forced her into sex while Ratner sat there and watched.
Simmons has “completely and unequivocally” denied her account.
Also, a woman named Tanya Reid accused Simmons of pressuring her to perform oral sex on Ratner.