Last month, a former model named Keri Claussen Khalighi alleged that Russell Simmons had raped her (while Brett Ratner watched) in 1991. Russell claimed everything was consensual. Then screenwriter Jenny Lumet accused him of alleged rape. Russell released a statement implying it was all consensual. Yesterday, The New York Times published the accounts of four women accusing Russell of sexual assault, three of whom accuse him of rape. Prepare for a case of déjà-vu, because Russell has responded, and he recycled his favorite denial about everything being consensual.
A former Def Jam Recordings executive named Drew Dixon claims Russell used to talk about getting aroused on work calls, frequently exposed his boner, and a requested for her to sit on his lap during a staff meeting. What’s with these creeps wanting to play Gross Santa all the time? Drew claims she quit working for Def Jam in 1995 after Russell raped her at his Manhattan apartment. Drew says she didn’t report the alleged rape out of fear that it would kill her career. She also admits she accepted a $30,000 settlement from Russell to stay quiet. Drew left and began working for L.A. Reid, who also allegedly sexually harassed her. This wouldn’t be the first time L.A. Reid has been accused of sexual harassment.
Singer Tina Baker alleges that Russel, who was her manager at the time, raped her in the early 90s. Tina alleges that Russell warned her “Don’t fight me” while it was happening. Tina says she tried to get out of her contract, but he wouldn’t release her. She claims her career never went anywhere after the alleged incident.
A former journalist named Toni Sallie claims that she went on a few dates with Russell in 1987, but there was no connection. A short while after they stopped seeing each other, Russell invited Toni to a party at his apartment. When she arrived to an empty apartment, she realized there was no party, and he allegedly raped her in his bedroom. Toni says she never went to the police because was afraid it might hurt her career as a journalist. About a year later, Russell allegedly tried it again with Toni, but she was able to escape.
The most recent incident happened to Christina Moore. She says she met Russell Simmons in 2014 in an elevator at Soho Beach House in Miami. Christina and a friend told Russell they were lost and were trying to meet friends at the bar. Russell offered to show them the way. Instead, he brought them to his room, where Russell allegedly began aggressively groping Christina. Christina says she felt “violated” and she and her friend quickly “bolted” from his room.
All four of Russell’s latest accusers claim they told friends and family what had happened to them. Several of said friends and family confirmed the stories to The Times. Russell’s latest accusers tell The Times that they came forward after being inspired by all the women brave enough to speak about Harvey Weinstein.
Russell was quick to release a statement to The Times denying the assault claims made by Drew, Tina, Toni, and Christina. According to Russell, he’s a lover, not a raper.
“I vehemently deny all these allegations. These horrific accusations have shocked me to my core and all of my relations have been consensual. I have enormous respect for the women’s movement worldwide and their struggle for respect, dignity, equality and power. 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.
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.”
So according to Russell, he isn’t a predator because he’s good pals with Rosie the Riveter. Okay. And he’s so invested in the women’s movement, he’s re-dedicating his life to meditation and yoga in the name of girl power. Uh huh. Well that’s certainly a new kind of damage control. I would make a yoga-themed joke about Russell Simmons putting the “dog” in downward dog, but that just feels far too disrespectful to dogs.