Russell Simmons, one of hip-hop culture's most enduring figures, is stepping down from the businesses he founded after multiple sexual assault claims.
Jenny Lumet, an award-winning screenwriter who's worked with Simmons, wrote a guest column in The Hollywood Reporter detailing a 1991 encounter where Simmons is accused of forcing Lumet to go home with him. The letter goes on to say she had nonconsensual sex with Simmons — fearing for her safety if she refused.
Lumet wrote: "You didn't punch me, drag me or verbally threaten me. You used your size to maneuver me, quickly, into the elevator. ... You moved me into a bedroom. I said, 'Wait.' You said nothing. I made the trade in my mind. I thought, 'Just keep him calm, and you'll get home.' ... You closed the door. At that point, I simply did what I was told."
Lumet's accusation comes shortly after another group of women accused Simmons of sexual assault in an extensive Los Angeles Times piece. Simmons denied all the accusations in the LA Times but acknowledged the encounter with Lumet.
"While her memory of that evening is very different from mine, it is now clear to me that her feelings of fear and intimidation are real. While I have never been violent, I have been thoughtless and insensitive in some of my relationships over many decades, and I sincerely apologize," Simmons said in a written statement.
Simmons is the co-founder of Def Jam Recordings, one of the first hip-hop record labels that helped launch the careers of LL Cool J, Public Enemy, the Beastie Boys and others. He's also founded several other businesses under the Def Jam moniker.
Simmons is just the latest in a string of high-profile men to step down or be ousted from their positions after accusations of sexual assault and harassment.