Russell Simmons has decided to fight back against two women who recently accused him of rape and sexual assault. He has stated he “vehemently” denies all the allegations made against him. The Def Jam founder has deleted his Twitter account, but has kept his Instagram active. It is on that account that he recently shared a photo with a caption that outlines his response to the allegations made against him.
"Today, I begin to properly defend myself. I will prove without any doubt that I am innocent of all rape charges," he wrote. He also announced that he will be tackling the issue one woman at a time, starting with what he calls “The Original Sin,” Keri Claussen, who accused Simmons of sexually assaulting her in 1991 when she was just 17 years old. He claimed that an unidentified “we” will share evidence later on Thursday.
Simmons will then provide evidence that will apparently disprove screenwriter Jenny Lumet’s claims against him. Lumet wrote an article for The Hollywood Reporter that outlined the disturbing details of the night she claims Simmons raped her, also in '91.
Simmons does not make mention of the other women who have come forward with similar stories involving the music mogul. In total, nine different women have come forward with stories of sexual misconduct by Simmons. Three of them claim they were raped.
Even though Simmons referred to the hashtag #MeToo three times in his Instagram post, he stressed that his post was in no way affiliated with that movement. The photo he shared, which included his signature at the bottom, seemed to suggest he is attempting to create a movement that runs parallel to the #MeToo movement and involves him coming forward to announce he is innocent.
Simmons has stated he believes his relationships with both Claussen and Lumet were consensual. Simmons stepped away from his businesses after the first round of accusations against him started appearing in late November. At that time, he released a statement that read, in part:
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.