At least three women have come forward this week with allegations that hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons sexually assaulted them in New York between 1988 and 2014, recounting their stories to the New York Times on Wednesday. Another woman made similar accusations in the Los Angeles Times. On Friday, the Times reported that the New York Police Department is conducting a preliminary investigation into the claims.
Simmons, 60, denied the accusations in a statement released Wednesday, saying, “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.”
He also defended himself in public with an Instagram post using the hashtag #notme, a twist on the #metoo movement that has held predatory men to account in various industries.
Simmons, who co-founded Def Jam Recordings alongside producer Rick Rubin in 1983 and went on to launch lucrative clothing lines and other business ventures, resigned from his media companies two weeks ago after screenwriter Jenny Lumet, the daughter of famed director Sidney Lumet, accused him of assaulting her in 1991. According to the Times, it remains unclear whether Simmons’s alleged assaults in New York could ultimately be prosecuted because they occurred outside the statute of limitations.