Russell Simmons steps down from companies after accusation of sexual assault
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Russell Simmons said he’s removing himself from his businesses following a new allegation of sexual assault against him.

Screenwriter Jenny Lumet claimed in an open letter to the hip-hop mogul published Thursday in the Hollywood Reporter that Simmons “sexually violated” her in 1991.

Lumet described feeling “dread and disorientation” after accepting a ride home in Simmons’s car, only for his driver to take her to the music mogul’s apartment, despite her objections.


“I said I wanted to go home. I didn’t recognize the man next to me. I didn’t know if the situation would turn violent,” Lumet wrote. Lumet, the daughter of filmmaker Sidney Lumet, said Simmons then maneuvered her up an elevator to his apartment, where there was “penetration.”

Jenny Lumet said she was compelled to tell her story after Simmons’s response to model Keri Claussen Khalighi's allegations earlier this month that the Def Jam co-founder had sexually assaulted and harassed Khalighi in 1991. In a statement following that first public accusation, Simmons denied Khalighi's account of that night, saying it was consensual, and said he had never “committed any acts of aggression or violence” in his life and would “never knowingly cause fear or harm to anyone.”

In a statement to the Hollywood Reporter on Thursday, Simmons said while his memory of the night with Lumet differed from hers, “it is now clear to me that her feelings of fear and intimidation are real.”

Simmons — who endorsed Democratic presidential nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonBlumenthal calls for declassification of materials detailing Russian threat to US elections Hillary Clinton roasts NYT's Maureen Dowd over column Hillary Clinton touts student suspended over crowded hallway photo: 'John Lewis would be proud' MORE in the 2016 election and has been a fierce critic of President Trump — said while he’s “never been violent,” he’s been “thoughtless and insensitive in some of my relationships over many decades and I sincerely apologize.”

“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,” Simmons, 60, said. “The companies will now be run by a new and diverse generation of extraordinary executives who are moving the culture and consciousness forward.”

“As for me, I will step aside and commit myself to continuing my personal growth, spiritual learning and above all to listening,” he said.