On February 9, Page Six reported that hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons, who currently faces multiple allegations of rape and sexual assault, fled the country for Ubud, Bali. On Thursday, February 22, Simmons shared an Instagram post seemingly confirming the report. He wrote “I’m in Bali” in the caption and geo-tagged it “Bali, Indonesia” (although I just tried, and you can definitely geo-tag an Instagram from New York City with “Bali, Indonesia.” That doesn’t necessarily mean anything). I’m not sold yet, so take this with a grain of salt.
What’s slightly more interesting—the Instagram post is just an image of a black square with the text: “Temporarily closed for spiritual maintenance.” He elaborates in the caption: “I’m in Bali writing, meditating at holy sites and practicing asanas.” (Asanas are seated positions in yoga.)
Some of the caption could allude to the women (at time of publishing, at least 12) who’ve stepped forward with stories of how Simmons has raped, attempted to rape, or sexually assaulted them. Simmons writes, “Letting everyone speak, while I listen. Focusing and praying to realize one goal, BEING A MORE USEFUL SERVANT OF GOD.”
If he is referring to the sexual assault allegations he currently faces, this is not the first time he has taken to Instagram to address his accusers. Previously, Simmons quote-unquote launched a quote-unquote campaign to “defend myself properly.” In December 2017, Simmons shared an image of the hashtag #NotMe (that post is now deleted). A few days prior to that he shared another text-based image that read: “I HAVE NEVER HAD A SEXUAL ENCOUNTER THAT WAS NOT CONSENSUAL OR LAWFUL. EVER.” That post is still up on his Instagram account.
Simmons’ lawyers have advised him against making posts like the #NotMe message, stating that they would rather defend him in the court of law than the court of public opinion. (The New York Police Department has reportedly opened an investigation into Simmons.)
At the time of writing, it is unclear exactly how long Russell will be in Bali (if he really is there). He does write in his caption: “We need a revolution of consciousness. Now is the time for new beginnings. One awakened being at time. [sic]”
We’ve reached out to representatives for Simmons and will update this story if we hear back.