Def Jam Records’ music executive and founder, Russell Simmons has made a statement announcing he will be stepping down from all of his companies following a sexual misconduct allegation.
Screen writer Jenny Lumet accused Simmons of inappropriate behaviour in an open letter with The Hollywood Reporter where she recalled a night from 1991 saying: “I felt dread and disorientation”.
“I said I wanted to go home. I didn’t recognize the man next to me. I didn’t know if the situation would turn violent. I remember thinking that I must be crazy. I remember hoping that the Russell I knew would return any moment.”
In Simmons statement, he responds to Lumet’s accusations apologizing and announcing he will now be dedicating himself to personal growth.
“I have been informed with great anguish of Jenny Lumet’s recollection about our night together in 1991.” he said.
“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 apologize. 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 centre 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.”
It is unknown at this stage who will be stepping up and filling Simmons’ shoes. It is also understood that Lumet is yet to press any charges.