Russell Simmons is stepping down from his companies after being accused of sexual assault.
Writer Jenny Lumet accused the Def Jam co-founder and CEO of Rush Communications of forcing her to have sex with him in 1991, an accusation detailed in a Hollywood Reporter column.
In a statement released by Simmons he says he had a different recollection of their encounter but apologized to Lumet.
“I have been informed with great anguish of Jenny Lumet’s recollection about our night together in 1991,” Simmons said in a statement. “I know Jenny and her family and have seen her several times over the years since the evening she described. 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 and humbly apologize.”
The statement continued: “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.”
Lumet is the daughter of director Sidney Lumet and was the screenwriter for ‘Rachel Getting Married’ and ‘The Mummy.
This isn’t the first time Simmons has been accused of harassment or assault.
Earlier this month, model Keri Claussen Khalighi accused Simmons of forcing her to have sex with him.
She said Simmons worked together with director Brett Ratner to lure her to his apartment.
Another woman, Tanya Reid, also accused Simmons of pressuring her to perform oral sex on Ratner.
Both men have denied the allegations against them.