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Russell Simmons steps down from businesses following sexual assault claim

UPI News Service, 12/02/2017 

Russell Simmons has announced that he is stepping down from his businesses after being accused of sexual assault.

Simmons, the founder of record label Def Jam Recordings and CEO of Rush Communications, has been accused of forcing screenwriter Jenny Lumet to have sex with him in 1991.

Lumet detailed her story in a guest column for The Hollywood Reporter published Thursday.

In her account, Lumet says the mogul had flirted with her since she appeared in his 1985 movie "Krush Groove."

One night when offering her a ride home, Lumet says she was instead taken to his apartment where Simmons forced himself on her.

"At no time that night did I say: 'Russell, I will go home with you.' Or, 'Come home with me.' Or 'I will have sex with you.' Or 'I have the desire to have sex with you,'" Lumet said.

Simmons, in a statement, responded to the allegation and detailed how his companies will move forward without him.

"I have been informed with great anguish of Jenny Lumet's recollection about our night together in 1991," the 60-year-old said.

"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," he continued.

"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."

It's not the only sexual assault claim that Simmons faces.

In an article published this month in the Los Angeles Times, model Keri Claussen Khalighi said Simmons sexually assaulted her while filmmaker Brett Ratner looked on.

David Shankbone

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