Music and film mogul Russell Simmons quit his empire after screenwriter Jenny Lumet accused him of raping her in 1991.
In a statement issued on Thursday, Simmons said Lumet’s “memory of that evening is very different from mine.” He added: “I don’t want to be a distraction so I am removing myself from the businesses that I founded.”
Lumet, 50, recalled how Simmons violated her in graphic detail in a guest column for The Hollywood Reporter.
Lumet, who is the daughter of famed filmmaker Sidney Lumet, said she met the 60-year-old co-founder of Def Jam Recordings around 1987.
In a first person narrative, Lumet described how Simmons asked her to appear in a movie he was producing starring his brother Rev. Run‘s rap group Run DMC.
“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,” she wrote.
“Once you sent me 250 balloons with the note ‘Please baby, please baby, baby, baby, baby’ after a character in a Spike Lee movie. It was light, fun, and flattering.”
In 1991, when Lumet was 24, Simmons offered to take her home after dining at a New York restaurant.
I got into the car with you. 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. ”
Then, the car doors locked. It was loud. The noise made me jump.
I didn’t recognize you at that moment. It was disorienting. It was disorienting. I say it twice, now, because you said “No” twice, then.
I couldn’t open the doors. I couldn’t open the windows. The car was moving. The driver did not stop. He did not take me to 19th Street. He took me to your apartment.
I didn’t try to kick the windows out. I didn’t punch or kick. I didn’t say “What are you doing?” My voice left me after the second “No”.
Once the SUV arrived at Simmons’ residence, Lumet described him practically dragging her into his elevator then moving her “very quickly” inside his apartment.
“You moved me into a bedroom. I said “Wait.” You said nothing.
There was penetration. 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.
You told me to turn over on my stomach. You said something about a part of my body. You did not ejaculate inside me.
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. 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.
Lumet is the second woman to come forward with accusations against Simmons.
Keri Claussen Khalighi, now 43, says she was only 17 when Simmons raped her in his NYC apartment.
Simmons denied the 1st incident in a letter published Nov. 22 by The Hollywood Reporter.
Read the full text of Simmons’ response to Lumet’s accusation below.
FULL TEXT OF RUSSELL SIMMONS’ STATEMENT:
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 and humbly 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.