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Russell Simmons Steps Down From Businesses after Sexual Abuse Allegations

Music and fashion mogul, Russell Simmons, announced that he is stepping down from his businesses after screenwriter Jenny Lumet accused him of sexually abusing her in 1991.

The Def Jam co-founder made the announcement after the account from writer Jenny Lumet against Simmons. “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,” the mogul said in a statement. “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.”

Simmons statement added that, “This is a time of great transition. The voices of the voiceless, those who have been hurt or shamed, deserve and need to be heard. As the corridors of power inevitably make way for a new generation, I don’t want to be a distraction so I am removing myself from the businesses that I founded. The companies will now be run by a new and diverse generation of extraordinary executives who are moving the culture and consciousness forward. I will convert the studio for yogic science into a not-for-profit center of learning and healing. As for me, I will step aside and commit myself to continuing my personal growth, spiritual learning and above all to listening.”

Lumet alleges in an open letter published by The Hollywood Reporter, that one night Simmons, who she had known for several years, offered her a ride home but took her to his apartment instead. “You didn’t punch me, drag me or verbally threaten me. You used your size to maneuver me, quickly, into the elevator,” she wrote. “Alone in the elevator, you pressed me into the corner with your body, your hands and your mouth.”

“At one point you were only semi-erect and appeared frustrated. Angry? I remember being afraid that you would deem that my fault and become violent. I did not know if you were angry, but I was afraid that you were,” she claimed. “I desperately wanted to keep the situation from escalating. I wanted you to feel that I was not going to be difficult. I wanted to stay as contained as I could.”

The screenwriter is not the only one that has made these claims against Simmons. Model Keri Claussen Khalighi came forward with her accusation of assault and harassment against the music excutive and film producer Brett Ratner. Both men denied the accusations at the time.

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