Film-maker Jennifer Jarosik claims the mogul sexually assaulted her following a business meeting in his home
Another woman has accused hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons of rape. Film-maker Jennifer Jarosik is suing Simmons for $5m, claiming that he invited her to his house to discuss a potential documentary project and then attacked her.
Jarosik claims that Simmons asked to have sex, to which she replied, “no”. She alleges that he became aggressive and pushed her on to his bed, where she hit her head. Jarosik’s lawsuit alleges that Simmons then “pounced on her while she was still in shock and fear, and proceeded to rape her”.
Simmons said in a statement that the allegations are “absolutely untrue”. He stated, “I look forward to having my day in court – where, unlike the court of public opinion, I will have the ability to make use of fair processes that ensure that justice will be done and that the full truth will be known.” He did not address Jarosik’s specific claims, stating: “I will not litigate this matter in the media”, but said previous allegations range “from the patently untrue to the frivolous and hurtful”. He added: “These horrific accusations have shocked me to my core and all of my relations have been consensual.”
Simmons has been accused of rape or attempted rape by at least four other women, and of sexual assault by more than five others, with the New York police department reportedly investigating claims dating from 1983 to 2016. Jarosik said that initially she had only told some close friends about the incident, believing it was “partially her fault since she was not strong enough to resist”. But the recent rush of public allegations against Simmons encouraged her to contact him. Her suit claims that he denied the alleged incident.
Although he initially acknowledged that he had been “thoughtless and insensitive” in some of his relationships with women, Simmons has dismissed all allegations of sexual impropriety that have been made against him, by women including US fashion publicist, TV personality and author Kelly Cutrone, model Keri Claussen Khalighi and screenwriter Jenny Lumet. He issued statements to the New York Times and LA Times following their respective reports alleging his sexual misconduct, stating in the latter, “I have never been violent or abusive to any women in any way at any time in my entire life.” On 14 December, he deleted his Twitter account and posted the hashtag #NotMe to Instagram, stating, “Today, I begin to properly defend myself. I will prove without any doubt that I am innocent of all rape charges.”
Jarosik’s suit references Simmons’ alleged pattern of behaviour, and cites the #TimesUp movement founded by Hollywood celebrities to fight sexual harassment: “Defendant Simmons has historically thrived on the sexual exploitation of young women trying to break into the entertainment and music industry, in which young female artists are falsely promised opportunities and advancement by experienced and well-established men in power in the industry, with their careers in jeopardy if they resist the sexual overtures of these powerful men.”
Simmons is one of the most successful and high-profile African-American entrepreneurs in the US. As well as the iconic hip-hop label Def Jam and its various spinoff companies, he has founded various clothing, media and health brands, grouped as Rush Communications. Last November, however, he stepped down from his businesses to avoid becoming “a distraction”.
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