Russell Simmons claims he’s innocent of rape, says #NotMe
Music mogul Russell Simmons has released multiple statements denying the allegations of sexual assault and rape that have been made against him. In reports as recent as two that came out Wednesday (12/13), three women came forward to accuse Simmons of rape, and six others made allegations of sexual misconduct and harassment. These are in addition to previous allegations, including a 1991 assault allegation that preceeded Simmons stepping down from Def Jam, which he co-founded, as well as from Rush Communications and Phat Farm.
In his denials, Simmons has previously claimed to be "a supporter of the #MeToo campaign and the victims who were previously terrified to stand up and speak out against sexual misconduct." He has also apologized to "women from my past," saying, "I have made choices that have offended some of the women in my life. It’s not cool to be a playboy and a new consciousness understands this...Though never abusive in any way, my remarks were often cavalier and thoughtless." More recently, Simmons has called the rape allegations against him "patently untrue," "frivolous," and "hurtful." In the same statement, he claims a woman tried to extort him for money.
Now Simmons has released another statement, through Instagram, asserting his innocence. "Today," he says, "I begin to properly defend myself. I will prove without any doubt that I am innocent of all rape charges." He continues, "my intention is not to diminish the #MeToo movement in anyway, but instead hold my accusers accountable. #NotMe" Read Simmons' full statement below.
UPDATE: The LA Times reports that the NYPD's special victims unit has opened an investigation of Simmons following the most recent allegations, some of which allegedly occurred in NYC.