LOS ANGELES (AP) – Def Jam Records founder Russell Simmons says he is stepping away from his companies following a second allegation of sexual misconduct.
In an essay published by The Hollywood Reporter on Thursday, screenwriter Jenny Lumet described a “circa 1991” incident in which she says Simmons offered her a ride home following a social gathering but instead took her to his New York apartment against her will and had sex with her.
Lumet says she was prompted to speak out by Simmons’ denial earlier this month of a separate 1991 allegation of misconduct by another woman.
Simmons says in a statement released after the essay that although Lumet’s memory of the night is “very different” from his, it’s clear to him “that her feelings of fear and intimidation are real.” He apologized for being “thoughtless and insensitive” in some of his relationships.
Full statement from Simmons:
“I have been informed with great anguish of Jenny Lumet’s recollection about our night together in 1991. 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. 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.”