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Shocking Allegations

Russell Simmons Leaves Companies Following Sexual Assault Claims

‘I sincerely apologize,’ says the music producer.

Jenny Lumet – the daughter of filmmaker Sidney Lumet – has just accused Russell Simmons of having sexually violated her when she was 24. In a tell-all note to the 60-year-old hip-hop entrepreneur, the Rachel Getting Married screenwriter claimed he forced himself on her in his apartment after she asked to be dropped off at home.

In her shocking statement, Lumet, 50, said she met Simmons in 1987, through Rick Rubin. He was always friendly and flirty and while they never spent time alone, they knew each other for years and shared many mutual friends.“You pursued me, lightly, on and off, over a course of years, saying you had a thing for a ‘little yellow girl’ (me). I rebuffed. It wasn’t deep, as far as I knew. It was never a big deal. You had, I assumed, many women in your orbit,” Lumet wrote.

“And you were a fan of my grandmother [Lena Horne], respected her, and told me so. You seemed sincere,” she added, before recounting the allegedly horrific incident.

As The Hollywood Reporter stated, Simmons was accused of sexual assault and harassment by model Keri Claussen Khalighi this November. He denied all accusations made against him, saying: “I have never committed any acts of aggression or violence in my life. I would never knowingly cause fear or harm to anyone.”

According to Lumet, however, Khalighi and other women who have begun to speak out about Simmons are not only correct in their claims, but also brave for finally speaking out. She said it took her almost 30 years, and one child to find the courage to share her story.

“I got into the car with you,” Lumet wrote, describing the alleged incident. “The driver began to drive. I assumed you knew where I lived, because you had sent me 250 balloons, but I gave the driver my address on 19th Street and 2nd Avenue. You said to the driver: ‘No.’ I didn’t understand, so I said: ‘Russell?’ I said, again, to the driver: ‘19th Street.’ Again you said to the driver: ‘No.’”
Added the writer: “Then, the car doors locked. It was loud. The noise made me jump.”

She went on to explain how Simmons dragged her out of the car, and – along with two other men – escorted her into the elevator and led her to his apartment.

“You didn’t punch me, drag me or verbally threaten me. You used your size to maneuver me, quickly, into the elevator,” recalled Lumet. “At that point, I simply did what I was told… I was very, very sad.”

Lumet claimed the music producer then took off her clothes and asked her to turn around on his bed as he “penetrated” her and finished.

“When it was over, I got my clothes and quickly went down in the elevator by myself. You didn’t try to stop me. I went home in a taxi. I was grateful to be secure in my home,” wrote Lumet. “I never told anyone this story until October 27th of this year (after the Harvey Weinstein story was in the news, but weeks before the first public claims were made against you), when I told a girlfriend from childhood.”

She added that as a woman of color, it pains her to make such claims about a powerful man of color, but she can no longer remain silent.

After hearing the news of Lumet’s letter, Simmons announced he would be stepping down from his companies to “commit myself to continuing my personal growth, spiritual learning and above all to listening.” In his statement, he claimed he had a different recollection of the events of that night but he now realizes how Lumet felt and he “sincerely apologize[s].”

“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,” concluded Russell Simmons.