Russell Simmons has decided to step down from the companies her founded, Def Jam Recordings and Rush Communications, in the wake of multiple sexual assault allegations.
On Thursday the 60-year-old music mogul released a statement after allegations by screenwriter Jenny Lumet asserted that she was sexually assaulted by Simmons in 1991.
“I got into the car with you,” Lumet recalled. “The driver began to drive. I assumed you knew where I lived, because you had sent me 250 balloons, but I gave the driver my address on 19th Street and 2nd Avenue. You said to the driver: ‘No.'”
Lumet is the second woman to come forward with claims against Simmons.
Last week, Simmons refuted a claim of sexual assault from a Keri Claussen Khalighi, who says he forced her to give oral sex and then penetrated her in the shower as a 17-year-old model. “Everything that occurred between Keri and me occurred with her full consent and participation,” he said in a statement.
Now, Simmons is taking a different stance regarding the additional claim of sexual assault.
“I have been informed with great anguish of Jenny Lumet’s recollection about our night together in 1991,” Simmons said in a statement. “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.”
The statement continued: “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. 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.”
Def Jam was founded by Simmons and Rick Rubin in 1984 with their early artists being LL Cool J, Run DMC, Public Enemy and The Beastie Boys. Simmons was also the CEO of Rush Communications that worked on philanthropy efforts among other causes.