After producer and co-founder of Def Jam Recordings Russell Simmons denied previous accusations of sexual misconduct, he's stepping down from his companies following accusations from Rachel Getting Married writer Jenny Lumet.
While Simmons previously told The Hollywood Reporter that he had "never committed any acts of aggression or violence in my life," Lumet says she was pursued on and off by the producer for years, culminating in an 1991 incident in which she claims he locked her in a car, had a driver take her to his house, and then performed a nonconsensual sexual act.
"I simply did what I was told," Lumet wrote in an essay for THR, later adding, "I desperately wanted to keep the situation from escalating. I wanted you to feel that I was not going to be difficult. I wanted to stay as contained as I could. You told me to turn over on my stomach. You said something about a part of my body. You did not ejaculate inside me."
In response to this allegation, Simmons issued a statement saying he would be stepping down from his companies.
"While [Lumet's] 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."
He goes on to say that he will step aside from his companies to make room for "a new and diverse generation of extraordinary executives" and that he will convert the studio for yogic science into a "not-for-profit center of learning and healing."
"As for me," he concluded. "I will step aside and commit myself to continuing my personal growth, spiritual learning and above all to listening."
Refinery29 has reached out to Lumet and Simmons for comment.
If you have experienced sexual violence and are in need of crisis support, please call the RAINN Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).
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