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Russell Simmons is stepping down from his empire of companies after an allegation of sexual assault.
Deadline reported that the entrepreneur is leaving his various businesses after being accused of sexual assault by Jenny Lumet, the daughter of director and screenwriter Sidney Lumet.
Lumet wrote in a guest column in The Hollywood Reporter that after years of trying to date her, Simmons forced her to have sex with him in 1991.
“There is so much guilt, and so much shame. There is an excruciating internal reckoning. As a woman of color, I cannot express how wrenching it is to write this about a successful man of color. Again, shame about who I was years ago, choices made years ago,” Lumet wrote in the column published Thursday. “In this very moment, I feel a pang to protect your daughters. I don’t think you are inclined to protect mine.”
Simmons, 60, is the co-founder of hip-hop record label Def Jam Recordings and creator of multiple fashion lines. He was also chairman and CEO of Rush Communications.
Simmons’s full statement is below:
“I have been informed with great anguish of Jenny Lumet’s recollection about our night together in 1991. 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.
“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.”