After several women accused Russell Simmons of raping or sexually assaulting them, the Def Jam co-founder was adamant on clearing his name by declaring #NotMe on Instagram last December. But that was the first and last time Simmons used the hashtag on the app.
Page Six reports that Simmons, who stepped down from his businesses in November, is thinking differently now. "Mr. Simmons’ previous statements stand, and he has nothing to add to [them] at this time," said Simmons' reps to Page Six. The reps added that Simmons feels "that this is a time for women to speak." The statement comes after #MeToo and #TimesUp flooded Twitter last Sunday, when actors and actresses protested sexual misconduct by wearing black to the 2018 Golden Globes award ceremony.
Created by civil rights activist Tarana Burke, #MeToo encouraged thousands of men and women including Terry Crews, Gabrielle Union, and Lady Gaga to share their sexual assault and harassment stories. Then, in the past few weeks, celebrities including Natalie Portman, Kerry Washington, and Reese Witherspoon declared that the time is up for sexual harassment in Hollywood and elsewhere with their Time's Up initiative, which raises legal funds for individuals filing sexual assault lawsuits.
TMZ reports that two of Simmons’ accusers filed criminal complaints with the NYPD back in December. One of the women is Sherri Hines, who accused the music mogul of raping her in his office in 1983. The second woman is anonymous, who chose to remain anonymous, accused Simmons of raping her after a date in 1991. According to the gossip site, the NYPD is already investigating seven sexual misconduct allegations against Simmons.
So far, 14 women have accused Simmons of rape or sexual assault. However, Simmons has maintained his innocence. "Today, I begin to properly defend myself," read his Instagram post from December. "I will prove without any doubt that I am innocent of all rape charges."
But while Simmons is saying #NotMe, one of his accusers, TV star Kelly Cutrone, has another hashtag for him. "The #NotMe thing? I'm going to do a #YeahYou," said Cutrone to Page Six.