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Russell Simmons Accused of Sexual Assault and Harassment in Latest Lawsuit

Published Wed Feb 14 2024 By Nancy
Russell Simmons Accused of Sexual Assault and Harassment in Latest Lawsuit

Russell Simmons faces legal action, accused of sexual assault by a former music video producer and executive at Def Jam Recordings. 

In a civil complaint filed in the Southern District of New York court, a woman, identified as Jane Doe, alleges that Simmons assaulted her in the 1990s at his Manhattan apartment.

Russell Simmons has faced legal action.
Russell Simmons has faced legal action.
Photo Source: Instagram

On Tuesday, Kenya Davis, the lawyer for our client, said that her boss, Russell Simmons, sexually assaulted and harassed her while she was working hard to achieve her goals at Def Jam. She felt proud of her work in hip hop music, but Mr. Simmons, who is wealthy and influential, disrupted her career and behavior went unchecked for many years.

Davis also said, "Jane Doe, who is now successful as a writer and producer in entertainment, went through very distressing situations with Simmons, which are similar to what many other women have faced because of him for many years."

In her complaint, Jane Doe talks about a culture where both women and men from the company and other parts of the music industry would visit the apartment of the co-founder of Def Jam Recordings for work. Before the alleged assault, she mentioned that she had previously dropped off music videos at his home "without any problems."

Jane Doe claimed that during a usual practice of reviewing a music video in Simmons' bedroom, the hip-hop executive held her down with a "wrestling move" and raped her.

Despite her repeated requests for Simmons to stop, he ignored her pleas, as stated in the complaint.

Before the attack, Jane Doe explained that her professional relationship with Simmons gradually shifted from work-related to experiencing constant sexual harassment in the workplace. This harassment became so widespread that another senior executive once had to ask Simmons to leave Jane Doe's office. 

USA TODAY has tried to contact Simmons and Def Jam for comments. 

Simmons' career faced significant challenges in 2017 after several other allegations of sexual assault emerged amid the #MeToo movement.

The complaint states that when Ms. Doe heard about the experiences of other survivors, she noticed how similar they were to what she went through with Mr. Simmons. 

After the assault, Jane Doe left Def Jam and New York City. She has since struggled to maintain her career and has experienced panic attacks and an eating disorder. 

In March, she encountered Simmons at a yoga class in Los Angeles and unintentionally ended up beside him. When she asked if it was okay to be next to him, Simmons allegedly replied, "Of course. What, do you think I’m gonna try and (sleep with) you?" 

Jane Doe filed the lawsuit under New York's Adult Survivors Act, which allows sexual abuse survivors to file claims even after the usual time limits. However, the lookback window for this act ended in November, so it's uncertain how it will be applied. 

She also filed under New York City's Gender Motivated Violence Act, which has a lookback window until March 2025. 

Also See: Podcast Host Bobbi Althoff's Husband Cory Files For Divorce – What Went Wrong? 

Following the accusations, Simmons stepped down from his businesses and philanthropies. He gave an interview in December on "In Depth with Graham Bensinger," denying any violent behavior and claiming all his relationships were consensual. 

The show reached out to Simmons' accusers mentioned in the episode, and four women responded: Drew Dixon, Sheri Sher, Sil Lai Abrams, and Jenny Lumet. They all reaffirmed their claims. 

Lumet, a screenwriter, wrote in The Hollywood Reporter that Simmons allegedly forced her to have sex in 1991. Abrams, a former Def Jam assistant, claimed Simmons raped her in 1994. 

Sher, a member of the first all-female hip-hop group Mercedes Ladies, alleged Simmons raped her in his office around 1983 but didn't come forward due to fear of backlash. 

Dixon, a former executive at Def Jam, was one of three women who accused Simmons of rape in a New York Times article.

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