Et Tu Russell Simmons?
Hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons on Thursday stepped down from the companies he founded, amid a new sexual misconduct allegation against him.
In an essay published Thursday by the Hollywood Reporter, screenwriter Jenny Lumet wrote that the Def Jam co-founder forced her to go to his apartment in 1991 and then have sex with him. Her account follows last week’s Los Angeles Times story, in which Keri Claussen Khalighi alleged that when she was a 17-year-old model in 1991, Simmons sexually assaulted her while director Brett Ratner watched.
While Simmons had strongly disputed Khalighi’s account, he announced Thursday his exit from his various companies in light of Lumet’s essay.
“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,” Simmons said in a statement to THR. “While I have never been violent, I have been thoughtless and insensitive in some of my relationships over many decades and I sincerely apologize.”
He added: “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.”
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