WebHeader_Grove.png
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
Get 2 limited-edition podcast mugs when you make a sustaining gift of $8 or more per month today!

More Women Come Forward To Accuse Russell Simmons Of Rape, Sexual Assault

Updated at 11:35 a.m. ET Friday

Russell Simmons, one of the biggest figures in the hip-hop industry, was publicly accused of rape Wednesday night by four women and of sexual misconduct by several other women. Multiple media outlets, including CNN and The New York Times, reported that the New York Police Department has opened an investigation into several of the allegations against Simmons.

The allegations follow those made by two other women last month. More than 10 women have now publicly accused Simmons of sexual harassment, assault or rape.

On Wednesday evening, The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times separately published accounts of the new accusations against Simmons. The rapes and assaults are alleged to have taken place between the 1980s to 2014. Simmons released a statement last night saying he "vehemently denies all these allegations," adding that they shocked him to his core.

Simmons, 60, also responded to the new accusations through an Instagram post Thursday morning. The message, delivered in all-caps and signed by Simmons, reads:

"I have never had a sexual encounter that was not consensual or lawful. Ever."

Simmons followed that post with one of an image showing a hashtag — #NOTME — in response to the #MeToo hashtag that helped propel awareness and reports of sexual harassment this fall.

Commenting on that post, Simmons added:

"Today, I begin to properly defend myself. I will prove without any doubt that I am innocent of all rape charges. Today, I will focus on "The Original Sin" (Keri Claussen), the claim that created this insane pile on of my #MeToo. Stay tuned!"

Simmons said he would be sharing evidence refuting allegations on Thursday by model Keri Claussen Khalighi, as well as evidence on Friday regarding the case of Jenny Lumet, a writer who wrote an open letter to him saying he had sexually assaulted her in 1991. That accusation came on the heels of Khalighi's allegations.

As of noon ET Friday, however, Simmons had not yet made public any of the evidence he vowed to provide.

Through his Instagram account, Simmons added, "My intention is not to diminish the #MeToo movement in anyway, but instead hold the accusers accountable."

Two weeks ago, Simmons said he was "removing" himself from running his companies, saying that he had been "thoughtless and insensitive in some of my relationships over many decades."

In that November statement, Simmons said he would "commit myself to continuing my personal growth, spiritual learning and above all to listening."

Simmons made his name through Def Jam Records and founded a sprawling empire that grew to encompass comedy, fashion and yoga.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Anastasia Tsioulcas is a reporter on NPR's Arts desk. She is intensely interested in the arts at the intersection of culture, politics, economics and identity, and primarily reports on music. Recently, she has extensively covered gender issues and #MeToo in the music industry, including backstage tumult and alleged secret deals in the wake of sexual misconduct allegations against megastar singer Plácido Domingo; gender inequity issues at the Grammy Awards and the myriad accusations of sexual misconduct against singer R. Kelly.
Bill Chappell is a writer and editor on the News Desk in the heart of NPR's newsroom in Washington, D.C.

You make NHPR possible.

NHPR is nonprofit and independent. We rely on readers like you to support the local, national, and international coverage on this website. Your support makes this news available to everyone.

Give today. A monthly donation of $5 makes a real difference.