In a new Hollywood Reporter article, actress and screenwriter Jenny Lumet says Russell Simmons forced her to have sex with him 1991. In response to Lumet's article, Simmons has announced that he is stepping down from his businesses to "commit myself to continuing my personal growth, spiritual learning and above all to listening." Simmons previously denied model Keri Claussen Khalighi's November 19 statement that he had sexually abused and harassed her.
In her piece, Lumet, who acted in the Simmons-produced film Tougher Than Leather, says she accepted a ride home from Simmons and his driver one night in 1991. "At no time that night did I say: “Russell, I will go home with you”. Or, “Come home with me.” Or “I will have sex with you.” Or “I have the desire to have sex with you.'" she writes. Lumet says that Simmons repeatedly said "No" when she gave the driver her address and instead took her to his apartment, where he forced her to have sex with him. "I couldn’t open the doors. I couldn’t open the windows. The car was moving. The driver did not stop."
In response, Simmons wrote, "While [Lumet's] 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 apologize."
He continued: "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."
Representatives for Russell Simmons were not immediately available for comment.
Read both statements in full here.