via Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for Fast Company
via Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for Fast Company

Update (1.9, 3:45 p.m.): According to TMZ, two women have filed criminal complaints against Russell Simmons: Rapper Sherri Hines, who allegedly told police Simmons raped her in 1983, and another woman who elected to remain anonymous, who alleges Simmons raped her at his Manhattan residence in 1991 when she was 32.

Update (12.15, 9:00 a.m.): The New York Police Department has opened an investigation of hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons following accusations of rape and sexual misconduct from at least 12 women, Entertainment Weekly reports. “The NYPD has received information regarding allegations involving Russell Simmons in the NYC area and our detectives are in the process of reviewing that information,” NYPD Sgt. Brendan Ryan told PEOPLE on Thursday. Simmons, also to PEOPLE, “vehemently” denies the sexual assault allegations, claiming that all his “relations have been consensual” and the “horrific accusations have shocked me to my core.”


Update (12.13, 11:00 a.m.): Following allegations of sexual assault and rape from 10 women across three decades, Simmons shared two Instagram posts this morning, denying the allegations (one simply reading #NotMe.) He hints that new information will arrive later today, promising “evidence” in the case of Keri Claussen, who last month accused Simmons of raping her in 1991. He writes that more information surrounding the case of Jenny Lumet, the screenwriter who wrote a piece for the Hollywood Reporter detailing sexual assault allegations against him, will arrive tomorrow.

Update (12.13, 9:37 a.m.): Five more women have accused Russell Simmons of sexual misconduct, in a Los Angeles Times story that was published shortly after the New York Times report yesterday. Their stories take place as far back as 1983 and as recently as 2016.


One woman, rapper Sherri Hines, has accused Simmons of rape. The assault allegedly took place in his office in 1983. Natashia Williams-Blach, an actress, has accused Simmons of pressuring her to perform oral sex on him. Lisa Kirk says Simmons followed her into a bathroom at a nightclub in 1988, pushed her into a stall, which ripped her clothes, and tried to force himself on her. Erin Beattie, a massage therapist, says Simmons exposed himself to her in a Seattle hotel room in 2005 and asked her to touch his penis.

Simmons has since deleted his Twitter account and posted the below Instagram, denying allegations:


Original Story (12.12, 6:58 p.m.): Def Jam co-founder Russell Simmons, who stepped down from his various companies last month after two women came forward with stories of being sexually assaulted by him, has now been accused by three women of rape as reported in a new story by the New York Times.

The women—who all spoke on the record to the Times—are Tina Baker, a performer who Simmons managed in the early ‘90s; Drew Dixon, a former Def Jam executive; and Toni Sallie, a music journalist who met Simmons in 1987. According to the Times, “in each case, numerous friends and associates said they were told of the incidents at the time.”


Simmons is seen as a father figure and gate-keeper in the world of hip-hop. When asked for comment by the Times, he said:

“I vehemently deny all these allegations. These horrific accusations have shocked me to my core and all of my relations have been consensual.”

He added: “I have enormous respect for the women’s movement worldwide and their struggle for respect, dignity, equality and power.”


Simmons also said he was taking time for “spiritual learning, healing, and working” with the communities he’s worked in, and that he was willing to “get dirt on my sleeves if it means witnessing the birth of a new consciousness about women.”

However, he dismissed the accusations against him, saying:

“What I will not accept is responsibility for what I have not done. I have conducted my life with a message of peace and love. Although I have been candid about how I have lived in books and interviews detailing my flaws, I will relentlessly fight against any untruthful character assassination that paints me as a man of violence.”


More than a month out from the initial bombshell reports of sexual assault and harassment against Harvey Weinstein, we have mostly heard stories against other powerful men from white women. But the numerous accusations against Simmons are further proof that the problem of sexual misconduct extends beyond that, and far too often go un- or underreported. We are only now just beginning to hear from black and brown women in the entertainment industry at this level (like Mexican actress Salma Hayek, who published an op-ed in the Times today about how Weinstein exploited and manipulated her).

Moreover, the allegations against Simmons show the effect that sexual harassment and assault have not just on women’s inner worlds, but also on their careers. All of three stories from the women who’ve accused Simmons of rape show that:

Three of the women now accusing Mr. Simmons were pursuing careers in the music industry that they said were disrupted or derailed in part by their experiences with him.

“I didn’t sing for almost a year,” said Tina Baker, a performer who said Mr. Simmons raped her in the early ’90s, when he was her manager. “The second he agreed to work with me, my budget increased, the label was paying more attention to me,” Ms. Baker recalled. But after the assault, she said, “I went into oblivion.”


Read the full report here.

Senior Writer, Jezebel

Senior Writer, Jezebel. My debut book, LARGER THAN LIFE: A History of Boy Bands from NKOTB to BTS, is out 7/21/20.

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