As widely reported, Russell Simmons is one of many notable names entangled in the sexual harassment storm currently engulfing Hollywood.
Worst still, the mogul has now been named in two scandals.
The first charged that he and director Brett Ratner (who also has multiple accusations to his name) engaged in sexual assault of Keri Claussen Khalighi. Claims both deny.
Today, another surfaced via screenwriter Jenny Lumet (daughter of director Sidney Lumet). She refutes Simmons’ claim of never harming a woman with a detailed account of alleged sexual abuse.
In immediate response, having no doubt been pre-briefed about the latest drama, Simmons has released a statement expressing his decision to step down from all his companies.
His words below…
“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.”
Simmons, now 60, is worth an estimated $300 million thanks to his many business ventures – including the Phat Farm empire, Def Comedy Jam, and his film activity.