Russell Simmons Accused of Rape By Three Women
Tina Baker, a singer, alleged that Simmons raped her in the early 1990s, when he was her manager. Drew Dixon claimed that Simmons sexually harassed and then raped her when she was an employee of Def Jam Recordings in 1995. Toni Sallie, a music journalist, said that Simmons raped her in 1988.
Simmons denied the allegations in a statement provided to Variety.
“I vehemently deny all these allegations,” he said. “These horrific accusations have shocked me to my core and all of my relations have been consensual.”
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Simmons had already stepped down from his companies, including Rush Communications, following allegations from writer Jenny Lumet, who alleged that he sexually assaulted her in 1991. Variety had earlier reported that Simmons and Brett Ratner were both investigated by the Beverly Hills Police Department for an alleged sexual battery in 2001. The L.A. Times also reported allegations that Ratner and Simmons engaged in sexual misconduct in the early 1990s. Simmons has denied each allegation of non-consensual sex.
The latest allegations mostly date from Simmons’ early career as a powerful music producer in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Sallie said she met Simmons in 1987 and the two briefly dated. The following year, she said Simmons invited her to a party at his apartment. But when she got there, the place was empty. Simmons led her to the bedroom.
“He pushed me on the bed and jumped on top of me, and physically attacked me,” she told the Times. “We were fighting. I said no.”
She said he raped her. She also alleged that she met Simmons again about a year later at a hotel in Florida, and that he grabbed her hair and chased her into the bathroom. She told the Times she ultimately barricaded herself inside her hotel room.
Baker, the artist Tina B, had toured with Madonna and Bruce Springsteen as a backup singer in the 1980s. She, too, was invited to Simmons apartment in the early 1990s. “It all got really ugly, pretty fast,” Baker told the Times. She described being “pinned” to the bed. “I did nothing, I shut my eyes and waited for it to end.”
She also recounted an incident some time later when Simmons allegedly exposed his penis to her. Baker contends that her career was brought to an end in short order, and that her relationships with men suffered for years after the incident.
Dixon also described experiences in which Simmons exposed himself. Working as an associate at Def Jam, she recalled relentless sexual advances by Simmons. “Fending him off ‘was a full-time job,'” she told the paper. One night she also found herself at Simmons’ apartment and recalled “many ways to say no.” The alleged assault caused Dixon to “black out,” she said, and eventually disassociate from the experience as a mental defense.
Later, while working at Arista Records, Dixon experienced another form of sexual harassment, she alleged, at the hands of former label chief L.A. Reid. She described a quid-pro-quo relationship with the executive, who left Sony Music earlier this year amid another claim of impropriety. “‘I have power, you want access, sleep with me — or I’m going to be really mean to you the next day. And there will be consequences,’” she elaborated.
All three women had friends, associated and therapists who could corroborate their accounts.
Read Simmons’ statement in its entirety below:
I vehemently deny all these allegations. These horrific accusations have shocked me to my core and all of my relations have been consensual.
I am blessed to have shared extraordinary relationships, whether through work or love, with many great women; and I have enormous respect for the women’s movement worldwide and their struggle for respect, dignity, equality and power. I am devastated by any reason I may have given to anyone to say or think of me in the ways that are currently being described. In recent weeks, some former business, creative and romantic partners have aired grievances as claims I categorically reject. In some of these instances, financial motives and direct contradictory witness testimony has been supplied to the media, which has been completely left out of stories. In the last few days, one woman attempted to extort me for $500,000 only to recant her ridiculous claim. The current allegations sent to me by the New York Times range from the patently untrue to the frivolous and hurtful. The presumption of innocent until proven guilty must not be replaced by “Guilty by Accusation”
I have already apologized for the instances of thoughtlessness in my consensual relations. I have separated myself from my businesses and charities in order to not become a distraction. I have re-dedicated myself to spiritual learning, healing and working on behalf of the communities to which I have devoted my life. I have accepted that I can and should get dirt on my sleeves if it means witnessing the birth of a new consciousness about women. 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.