According to a new report from Variety, music producer Russell Simmons has been accused of rape by Alexia Norton Jones, W.W. Norton publishing heiress and daughter of Martin Luther King Jr.'s former attorney Clarence Jones.
In an interview with Variety, Jones alleged that Simmons, whom she knew socially in the '80s, attacked her during what she called their first date. Jones told the outlet:
"It began with us kissing. There was something about kissing him, his heart was racing. It seemed out of pace, like he wasn’t relaxed. My mind went to, 'Is he on something?' I also thought, 'How could I be such an idiot?' Here I am, I’m trusting him. I had been a survivor of sexual abuse as a young teenager."
"I didn’t want to go further. It was such a fast attack. It was literally an attack. Because he was overweight, I remember thinking it was like being attacked by a flabby walrus. I remember being pushed up against a wall. He pulled my dress up. I must have said no seven to 10 times, and then I acquiesced. It was very fast. I would say it happened in less than 10 minutes."
According to Variety, Jones reported the incident to the NYPD last year, despite the fact that the alleged incident occurred outside of New York's statute of limitation for felonies. She is reportedly not seeking monetary damages.
Simmons denied Jones' accusation in a statement to Variety. He claims to have taken "multiple lie detector tests that affirm I never sexually assaulted anyone," although it's unclear who administered those tests and why. He also said that a disappointed Jones had called him in 2006 after he did not attend an event that honoured her father.
Regarding Simmons' statement, Jones confirmed the phone call did take place, but denied dating Simmons (he claims they dated and were intimate). She told Variety that her reason for coming forward now is so she can stand alongside Simmons' other alleged survivors. Over a dozen women have accused Simmons of sexual misconduct.
Following the column, Simmons publicly denied Lumet's accusation. However, due to the negative publicity, he issued a statement saying he would step down from his companies.
In December of 2017, the New York Times published an article titled "Music Mogul Russell Simmons Is Accused of Rape by 3 Women." Shortly after, the Los Angeles Times published their own piece with five more sexual misconduct allegations against Simmons.
The music producer has vehemently denied all previous sexual misconduct accusations. Refinery29 has reached out to Simmons for additional comment.