A total of 15 women have now accused music producer and entrepreneur Russell Simmons of sexual misconduct.
A total of 15 women have now accused music producer and entrepreneur Russell Simmons of sexual misconduct.
From inappropriate behavior in business meetings to attempted assault in a women’s restroom in New York City during a night of partying to rape at his apartment, the accusations span more than three decades, according to various reports by The Hollywood Reporter, The New York Times and The Los Angeles Times.
In a statement to PEOPLE, Simmons, 60, “vehemently” denies all the allegations, saying that all his “relations have been consensual” and the “horrific accusations have shocked me to my core.”
“I am blessed to have shared extraordinary relationships, whether through work or love, with many great women; and I have enormous respect for the women’s movement worldwide and their struggle for respect, dignity, equality and power. I am devastated by any reason I may have given to anyone to say or think of me in the ways that are currently being described. In recent weeks, some former business, creative and romantic partners have aired grievances as claims I categorically reject. In some of these instances, financial motives and direct contradictory witness testimony has been supplied to the media, which has been completely left out of stories. In the last few days, one woman attempted to extort me for $500,000 only to recant her ridiculous claim. The current allegations sent to me by the New York Times and Los Angeles Times range from the patently untrue to the frivolous and hurtful. The presumption of innocent until proven guilty must not be replaced by ‘Guilty by Accusation,’” he continues in the statement.
“I have already apologized for the instances of thoughtlessness in my consensual relations. I have separated myself from my businesses and charities in order to not become a distraction. 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. 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 concludes.
Below is a complete list of sexual misconduct allegations against Simmons:
Jennifer Jarosik, an aspiring filmmaker, sued the music mogul for $5 million alleging Simmons raped her in his home in 2016, according to The Blast.
Jarosik alleged she met Simmons in New York City in 2006 after which he agreed to co-produce, finance and assist on a documentary she was making about empowering women.
She claims she was invited to Simmons’ home in Beverly Hills after she moved to Los Angeles in 2016. The Blast reported Simmons asked if they could have sex after she arrived. She allegedly declined his request which caused him to become “aggressive.”
Simmons allegedly pushed her on the bed, “pounced on her” and “proceeded to rape her,” the outlet reported.
A rep for Simmons was not immediately available for comment.
In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Hines — who was part of the hip-hop group Mercedes Ladies — alleges Simmons raped her in his office around 1983 after running into him at a nightclub in New York.
According to Hines, she was 17 or 18 years old at the time and was “pinned” down by Simmons inside his office on his couch. “I was trying to fight him and he had his way. I left crying,” she told the outlet.
Hines reportedly told a friend that same day about the alleged rape and also confided in her sister the same year. In her 2008 novel Mercedes Ladies, the main character Shelly Shel undergoes a similar experience with a powerful businessman named Ron.
TMZ reports Hines filed a criminal complaint in late December.
Kirk was partying at Carmelita’s Reception House in NYC with Simmons in 1988 when he followed her into a restroom and “tore” her clothes after pushing her into a stall, she claims in an interview with the Los Angeles Times.
When Simmons began to take his penis out of his pants, Kirk told the outlet they made eye contact and he “literally ran out of the bathroom.” She claims she recently told two friends about the alleged incident, after having blocked out the memory for years.
The Black Radio Exclusive reporter told the New York Times she met Simmons while on assignment and that the two went on a few dates before she decided they were not a match.
In 1988, she was invited to his Manhattan apartment for a party held in honor of Simmons’ then-girlfriend, but when she arrived, only Simmons was there, she told the outlet.
“He pushed me on the bed and jumped on top of me, and physically attacked me,” she recalled. “We were fighting. I said no.” Sallie reportedly told two friends and a colleague about the attack.
A year after the incident, Sallie claims she ran into Simmons in a hotel lobby in South Florida during a music conference. After she resisted his attempt to lead her to a dark beach, he grabbed her hair and chased her into the women’s restroom before she escaped to her room, she told the Times.
Under the guise of discussing her singing career, Baker went back to Simmons’ apartment, she told the New York Times.
She had been there several times before “without incident,” but one night in late 1990 or early 1991, “it all got really ugly, pretty fast,” she told the outlet. Simmons poured drinks for her and tried to kiss her; soon he was “on top of me, pushing me down and him saying, ‘Don’t fight me,’” she said. “I did nothing, I shut my eyes and waited for it to end.”
She later told her ex-husband, her psychologist, another therapist and a former roommate about the alleged rape.
Still tied to Simmons professionally, Baker returned to his apartment for a business meeting during which he pulled out his penis, she claims. “I didn’t have sex with a man for almost nine years. I went into a cocoon,” the singer-turned-lawyer told the Times.
KERI CLAUSSEN KHALIGHI
According to the Los Angeles Times, Khalighi was 17 years old in 1991 when Simmons allegedly assaulted her in his apartment while Brett Ratner looked on.
“I looked over at Brett and said ‘help me’ and I’ll never forget the look on his face,” she told the outlet. “In that moment, the realization fell on me that they were in it together. I fought it wildly.”
Khalighi claims Simmons tried to force her to have intercourse but “eventually relented and coerced her to perform oral sex,” she told the Times. While showering afterwards, Khalighi was briefly “penetrated” by Simmons who had walked up behind her, she claims.
In a statement, Simmons acknowledged having sex with Khalighi but denied it was not consensual. Ratner’s attorney also told the Times his client has “no recollection” of any requests for help by Khalighi.
In a guest column for The Hollywood Reporter, The Mummy screenwriter Jenny Lumet wrote that Simmons pursued her “on and off” over the years. After dining at a restaurant called Indochine one night in 1991 when she was 24 years old, Simmons offered her a ride home but then took her to his apartment.
“You used your size to maneuver me, quickly, into the elevator,” wrote Lumet in the column. “You pressed me into the corner with your body, your hands and your mouth.”
After allegedly moving her into the bedroom and closing the door, “there was penetration,” wrote Lumet, who allegedly kept the incident to herself until Oct. 27 this year.
In response to Lumet’s column, Simmons released a statement saying he is stepping down from his businesses but denied ever being violent.
In an interview with the New York Times, Dixon says she was working her “dream job” as an exec at Def Jam Recordings in 1995 but allegedly dealt with “prolonged and aggressive sexual harassment” by Simmons, who co-founded the label.
According to Dixon, Simmons made sexual comments about her and asked her to sit on his lap during a staff meeting, in addition to regularly exposing his erect penis to her.
Dixon alleges his behavior culminated in rape one day in his Manhattan apartment. “I was broken,” she told the Times, adding that Simmons allegedly pinned her to his bed and she later woke up naked in his hot tub after blacking out despite not having any alcohol.
The actress, who appeared in How to Be a Player (produced by Simmons), told the Los Angeles Times the producer attempted to force her to perform oral sex in his house after taking her to a yoga class in 1996.
She was 18 years old at the time and removed herself from the situation after telling him she had to go to study hall at UCLA, where she was a student, she told the outlet.
While working as a massage therapist at the Alexis Hotel in Seattle in 2005, Beattie claims Simmons exposed himself to her and asked her to touch his penis during a session, she told the Los Angeles Times.
The next day, Simmons again hired her and though he didn’t expose himself this time, he allegedly “laced their conversation with sexual and racial innuendos,” according to the outlet.
“We do not know the details around whether this alleged incident would have involved a hotel third party vendor or someone hired by the guest, but we can confirm Ms. Beattie was never an employee of the hotel. As noted, nothing was ever reported to hotel staff,” a rep for the Alexis Hotel tells PEOPLE.
Simmons’ attorney told the Times he recalled he and Beattie joking about a “happy ending” to his massage, as well as making “racial and sexual” jokes. Responded Beattie: “It was not a joke.”
While with a friend at the Soho Beach House in Miami during Art Basel in 2014, Moore — along with her friend — was led by Simmons to his room, she told the New York Times.
After immediately starting a bath, Simmons allegedly pushed her up against a column in the room and ran his hands “all over my body, up and down,” she told the outlet. “I felt assaulted.”
Simmons allegedly told her she was a bad girl and threatened to tie her up; Moore and her friend then “bolted,” reports the Times.
The Insecure star met Simmons last September for a business meeting at his office when Simmons allegedly used vulgar language to ask if they had ever had sex, she told the Los Angeles Times.
When she said “No,” Simmons responded: “Oh, right. ‘Cause I would’ve remembered that, right?” she told the Times.
Russell left her job as the general manager of Tantris — a yoga studio owned by Simmons — in February. In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Russell claims Simmons used his position at the studio to pursue women, including a female teacher.
When the unnamed teacher reported Simmons’ alleged harassment to management, she was told it was a common occurrence, the teacher told the Times. “You have to understand, we go back to the Def Jam days. This is Russell, he loves young models,” the teacher recalled being told.
Russell told the Times she left her position after nine months because he was too “demanding” and called her at “All hours,” screaming and yelling about why the studio wasn’t more successful.
Via his lawyer, Simmons called Russell a “disgruntled former employee” and denied any complaints about his behavior from employees.
Cutrone, the famed PR guru who was made famous by The Hills and America’s Next Top Model, told the New York Post‘s Page Six that Simmons attempted to rape her in 1991.
According to TMZ, an anonymous woman claims Simmons raped her at his Manhattan home following a date in 1991. She alleges he attempted to remove her dress while the two sat on a couch, and then forcibly raped her when she rejected his advances. She reportedly filed a criminal complaint with the NYPD in late December.