Russell Simmons, an American hip-hop heavyweight who has helped credibility with his famous label Def Jam Recordings, announced Thursday that he was resigning from his business after charges of sexual assault.
The 60-year-old businessman, known for his passion for yoga, denied the accusations, but explained the recent revelations of abuse and sexual harassment by male celebrities as conducive to “a period of transition.” in his companies.
“The voices of the voiceless, those who have been hurt or degraded deserve to be heard,” he said in a statement.
“While the corridors of power will give way to a new generation, I do not want to be a distraction and therefore withdraw from the companies I created,” he added.
Russell Simmons has been charged with sexual assault in the Hollywood Reporter by screenwriter Jenny Lumet, daughter of director Sidney Lumet.
The facts would have been in 1991 when Jenny Lumet was 24 years old. Russell Simmons reportedly forced her to return to her apartment – her driver refused to drop the girl at home – and would have had sex with her without her consent.
In his release, Russell Simmons said he had another memory of the evening but acknowledged that the girl’s “feelings of fear and intimidation” were “real”.
“Although I have never been violent, I have often lacked consideration and sensitivity in many of my relationships over the years, and I sincerely apologize,” he continued.
Earlier this month, Russell Simmons denied sexually assaulting the model Claussen Khalighi when she was 17 in 1991, as she accuses him. With producer Rick Rubin, Russell Simmons created the Def Jam label in the mid-1980s, and introduced Rap to his first popular hits, including artists such as Beastie Boys, LL Cool J and Public Enemy. A great name for American rap, he is close to his most famous stars, like Jay-Z.
Now far from the world of music, he has a particular brand of clothing and yoga studios. Russell Simmons is active in charitable organizations, and has always kept a very smooth image – especially in contrast to some of his artists – through his advocacy of vegetarianism and the cause of animals.