Russell Simmons is “stepping aside” from his companies in the wake of numerous sexual assault accusations leveled against him.
The founder of Def Jam and Phat Farm was accused by actress Jenny Lumet of rape. The screenwriter detailed how the music mogul got her to his apartment by force and intimidation. Prior to that, he was accused by former model Keri Claussen Khalighi of sexually assaulting her when she was 17.
In response, Simmons released a statement today apologizing to Lumet and also revealed he will be stepping aside from his companies.
The statement read: “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