A day after the media world reeled over the firing of longtime Today Show host Matt Lauer, hip hop icon Russell Simmons announced Thursday that he was stepping down from his companies after another scathing accusation of sex assault.
Jenny Lumet, the daughter of director Sidney Lumet, and Lena Horne‘s granddaughter, wrote a guest column in the Hollywood Reporter that accused the Def Jam co-founder of forcing her to have sex in 1991.
“There is so much guilt, and so much shame,” Lumet wrote.”There is an excruciating internal reckoning. As a woman of color, I cannot express how wrenching it is to write this about a successful man of color. Again, shame about who I was years ago, choices made years ago. In this very moment, I feel a pang to protect your daughters. I don’t think you are inclined to protect mine.”
Hours after the story was published, Simmons released a statement of apology, saying he had a different recollection of their encounter, but said that her “feelings of fear and intimidation are real.”
It was not the first accusation against Simmons, who has fostered an image of philanthropist, yoga practitioner and mentor to scores of hip hop artists.
In a November Los Angeles Times article, model Keri Claussen Khalighi accused Simmons of assault and harassment. He vociferously denied the claim in a letter published by The Hollywood Reporter.
Lumet, an award-winning screenwriter (Rachel Getting Married, The Mummy) said it was Simmons’ response to Khalighi that prompted her to reveal her own alleged experience.
Besides music, Simmons is TV producer and co-founder of Def Jam Recordings.
“The voices of the voiceless, those who have been hurt or shamed, deserve and need to be heard,” Simmons said in the statement. “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.”
NBC Fires Matt Lauer After He’s Accused Of Sexual Harassment
31 Black Women Who Died In Police Custody
1. Kathryn Johnston, 92Source:Getty 1 of 26
2. Tarika Wilson, 26Source:Getty 2 of 26
3. Shereese Francis, 30Source:Getty 3 of 26
4. Shantel Davis, 23Source:Getty 4 of 26
5. Alesia Thomas, 35Source:Getty 5 of 26
6. Malissa Williams, 30Source:Getty 6 of 26
7. Darnesha Harris, 17Source:Getty 7 of 26
8. Shelly Frey, 27Source:Getty 8 of 26
9. Miriam Carey, 34Source:Getty 9 of 26
10. Yvette Smith, 47Source:Getty 10 of 26
11. Michelle Cusseaux, 50Source:Getty 11 of 26
12. Aura Rosser, 40Source:Getty 12 of 26
13. Tanisha Anderson, 37Source:Getty 13 of 26
14. Eleanor Bumpurs, 66Source:Getty 14 of 26
15. Natasha McKenna, 37Source:Getty 15 of 26
16. Janisha Fonville, 20Source:Getty 16 of 26
17. Meagan Hockaday, 26Source:Getty 17 of 26
18. Alexia Christian, 25Source:Getty 18 of 26
19. Sandra Bland, 28Source:Getty 19 of 26
20. Gynnya McMillen, 16Source:Getty 20 of 26
21. Symone Marshall, 22Source:Getty 21 of 26
22. Korryn Gaines, 23Source:Getty 22 of 26
23. Deborah Danner, 66Source:Getty 23 of 26
24. Alteria Woods, 21Source:Getty 24 of 26
25. Charleena Lyles, 30Source:Getty 25 of 26
26. Cariann Denise Hithon, 22Source:Getty 26 of 26
Who Is Next? Russell Simmons Steps Down From Companies After Sex Assault Claims was originally published on newsone.com