New York: Russell Simmons, the mogul who co-founded conic hip-hop label Def Jam and couple of other companies, has announced he is stepping down from leadership roles in business after writer Jenny Lumet accused him of sexual assault in 1991.
In a guest column in the Hollywood Reporter, Lumet accused the Def Jam co-founder of forcing her to have sex in 1991, reports Rolling Stone.
Screenwriter Jenny Lumet, whose credits include ‘Rachel Getting Married’ and ‘The Mummy’, and whose father is acclaimed director Sidney Lumet, alleged that Simmons offered her a chauffeured ride home in 1991.
When she got in the car, Simmons told his driver to lock the doors, took Lumet to his apartment and sexually assaulted her.
In response to Lumet’s article, Simmons issued a statement, which read, “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 apologise.”
He added that he would step aside from his numerous companies, grouped as Rush Communications and noted that he did not want to be a distraction from the work of his companies.
Adding, “The companies will now be run by a new and diverse generation of extraordinary executives who are moving the culture and consciousness forward. As for me, I will step aside and commit myself to continuing my personal growth, spiritual learning, and, above all, to listening.”
It should be noted that Simmons was accused of sexual assault earlier this month by model Keri Claussen Khalighi, in an incident also in 1991, and involving disgraced Hollywood director Brett Ratner.
He is the latest high profile figure to become engulfed in a sexual harassment or assault scandal. In recent weeks, Kevin Spacey, Harvey Weinstein, Matt Lauer, Charlie Rose, and John Lasseter have all been dogged by claims of sexual misdeeds or crimes. (ANI)