Russell Simmons Accused of Sexual Assault by Four More Women
Ten women have now alleged that the music mogul assaulted or harassed them.
Four more women have come forward to accuse music producer Russell Simmons of sexual assault.
In a new report in The New York Times, former Def Jam Records employee Drew Dixon, former music journalist Tonie Sallie and performer Tina Baker allege that Simmons raped them in encounters that spanned from 1988 to 2014. In a report published Wednesday in the Los Angeles Times, performer Sherri Hines alleged that Simmons raped her around 1983.
Also, four more women are coming forward with allegations of sexual misconduct against Simmons. In the Los Angeles Times, actress Natashia Williams-Blach, massage therapist Erin Beattie and two former Tantris employees detailed inappropriate behavior by the music mogul, including groping, inappropriate conversations and forced kissing. These latest additions make 10 women who have gone on the record with accusations against Simmons.
These are only the latest accusers to come forward about inappropriate behavior from Simmons. In mid-November, the Los Angeles Times reported that model Keri Claussen Khalighi had accused Simmons of sexual assault and harassment, a claim he denied. Later in the month, Jenny Lumet penned an essay for The Hollywood Reporter claiming that Simmons had assaulted her in his apartment after a long acquaintance in 1991, when she was 24 years old.
"I don't recall ever meeting any of the women who have spoken out against you, Russell. But I can't leave those women twisting in the wind. Maybe the recalling of this incident can be helpful. I don't know if it can," Lumet wrote.
“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," Simmons said Wednesday in a statement to The New York Times. “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.”
Dixon, a former executive at Def Jam Records, alleges Simmons would speak graphically about how Dixon aroused him, asked her to sit on his lap, exposed himself to her and raped her in his Manhattan apartment. In 1995, Dixon was leaving the Bowery Bar near Simmons’ apartment and ran into him. While waiting for a cab that the record producer had called for her, she entered his apartment. Once there, Dixon claims Simmons advanced on her, pinned her on his bed and began to kiss her. She then said she found herself in a bathtub with Simmons, both of them naked, though she doesn’t recall how she got there. She said she had not been drinking and doesn’t think she was drugged, but rather disassociated from the experience.
In 1987, music journalist Sallie met Simmons while on assignment. They went on a number of dates before Sallie broke it off. Months later, Simmons invited her to his apartment for a party. Once there, Sallie found Simmons alone. The record producer then escorted her to his bedroom where he pushed her on the bed, jumped on her and “physically attacked” her.
Baker, a singer whom Simmons managed in the early 1990s, also alleged that Simmons raped her. She ran into Simmons at a club where he invited her back to his apartment to go over her career. Once they arrived, Simmons began pouring her drinks and trying to kiss her. Baker claims he was “on top of me, pushing me down and him saying, ‘Don’t fight me.'" She said she “did nothing, I shut my eyes and waited for it to end.”
Hines, part of the all-female hip-hop group Mercedes Ladies, claims Simmons raped her in his office in the early 1980s. When she was 17 or 18, she ran into Simmons, whom she had known since her childhood, at a New York nightclub. He invited her to his nearby offices, where they sat together on a couch and he proceeded to pin her down, she claims. Hines fought him off and “left crying.” She later based an encounter in her 2008 novel Mercedes Ladies on the alleged incident.
Simmons responded to the stories saying, "I vehemently deny all these allegations" and maintained that all of his relations have been consensual. "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," he said, in part. Simmons, who has stepped away from his businesses, claims one woman attempted to extort him for $500,000.
On Thursday, Simmons' Twitter account was deleted and he had posted a new statement on his Instagram maintaining his innocence. "Today, I begin to properly defend myself," he wrote. "I will prove without any doubt that I am innocent of all rape charges. Today, I will focus on 'The Original Sin' (Keri Claussen), the claim that created this insane pile on of my #MeToo. Stay tuned! We’ll share information today... And tomorrow the case of Jenny Lumet. My intention is not to diminish the #MeToo movement in anyway, but instead hold my accusers accountable. #NotMe Again, this is not a movement against or even in conjunction with #Metoo . It’s just a statement about my innocence."
Dec. 13, 4:08 p.m. Updated with the claims of five women who spoke with the Los Angeles Times.
Dec. 14, 11 a.m. Updated with Simmons statement.