Published Nov 30, 2017Def Jam co-founder Russell Simmons has announced plans to step down from his various companies following additional allegations of sexual assault.
The announcement comes in the wake of an an essay published by The Hollywood Reporter earlier today (November 30), whereby screenwriter Jenny Lumet detailed an alleged encounter with Simmons in 1991, offering to give her a ride home from a restaurant only to take her back to his apartment and force her into sex.
Lumet's allegations follow those made earlier this month by model Keri Claussen Khalighi, in which she accused both Simmons and director Brett Ratner of sexual assault and harassment. Simmons denied the incident days later, writing in a statement that "everything that occurred between Keri and me occurred with her full consent and participation."
In response to Lumet's story, Simmons has pledged to "commit myself to continuing my personal growth, spiritual learning and above all to listening," in addition to leaving his companies. As of press time, however, it is unclear exactly which companies Simmons is leaving.
You can read his complete statement below.
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. 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 apologize.
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.