Last month, Russell Simmons chose to step away from his companies after multiple allegations of sexual misconduct were made against him. He has since addressed the situation, penning an open letter both speaking out against the claims and addressing the seriousness of what is happening in Hollywood, referring to the wave of women coming forward as “a powerful and wrenching shift of consciousness.”
Wednesday evening (Dec. 13), the New York Times published an in-depth profile highlighting the accounts of four different woman who agreed to speak on the record, with three of those women accusing the music mogul of rape.
The incidents in question allegedly took place between 1988 and 2014, with the women explaining to the Times that they were inspired to come forward with their stories in the aftermath of the accusations against Harvey Weinstein.
During the explosive report, former Def Jam executive Drew Dixon, music journalist Toni Sallie and singer Tina Baker each detail their own accounts, with each explaining in their own words that they were afraid of the repercussions that would follow if they chose to report the alleged rapes. The fourth woman, named Christina Moore, accused Simmons of assaulting her after the two met in Miami at Art Basel in 2014.
Simmons has since responded, issuing a new statement to the New York Times that “vehemently” denies all allegations.
See Russell Simmons’ new statement below and read the New York Times report in full here.
I vehemently deny all these allegations. These horrific accusations have shocked me to my core and all of my relations have been consensual.
I am blessed to have shared extraordinary relationships, whether through work or love, with many great women; and I have enormous respect for the women’s movement worldwide and their struggle for respect, dignity, equality and power. I am devastated by any reason I may have given to anyone to say or think of me in the ways that are currently being described. In recent weeks, some former business, creative and romantic partners have aired grievances as claims I categorically reject. In some of these instances, financial motives and direct contradictory witness testimony has been supplied to the media, which has been completely left out of stories. In the last few days, one woman attempted to extort me for $500,000 only to recant her ridiculous claim. The current allegations sent to me by The New York Times range from the patently untrue to the frivolous and hurtful. The presumption of innocent until proven guilty must not be replaced by “Guilty by Accusation.”
I have already apologized for the instances of thoughtlessness in my consensual relations. I have separated myself from my businesses and charities in order to not become a distraction. 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.