The purge of men in high power getting called to task for alleged sexual assault continues. The latest to exit the paint is Hip-Hop mogul Russell Simmons, who is stepping down from his companies after he was accused of sexual assault.
Early this morning (Nov. 30), the Hollywood Reporter published a story by writer Jenny Lumet, who accused Simmons of violating her and forcing her to have sex with him back in 1991.
In response to this, the founder of Def Jam Recordings and CEO of Rush Communications released a statement apologizing and saying he was stepping down from his posts.
“I have been informed with great anguish of Jenny Lumet’s recollection about our night together in 1991,” said Simmons via a statement, as reported by CNN. “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.”
Simmons added that he was stepping aside from his companies and going to work on himself.
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. 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.”
Lumet came forward after a previous Simmons statement (“I have never committed any acts of aggression or violence in my life. I would never knowingly cause fear or harm to anyone.”) after he was accused of sexual misconduct with a then 17-year-old, which was witnessed by Brett Ratner.
The alleged assault was detailed in the Los Angeles Times.
While these are all allegations that have not been proved in a court of law, there is no need to try to defend the indefensible. Men in power must do better, period.