In Light Of Recent Sexual Assault Allegations, Russell Simmons Steps Down From All Positions Including ‘All Def Comedy’

By USA Today

following a new accusation of sexual misconduct against him Thursday, USA TODAY confirmed with a statement from Simmons provided by his representative Steve Elzer.

The music mogul made the decision after new accuser, writer Jenny Lumet (Rachel Getting Married), came forward Thursday in a guest column published by The Hollywood Reporter, accusing the Def Jam co-founder of forcing her to have sex in 1991.

“This is a time of great transition … I don’t want to be a distraction so I am removing myself from the businesses that I founded,” he wrote. “As for me, I will step aside and commit myself to continuing my personal growth, spiritual learning and above all to listening.”

He added the the companies will now be run by a “new and diverse generation of extraordinary executives” and that he is converting his studio for yogic science into a not-for-profit center of “learning and healing.”

Simmons’ name is also being removed from the HBO series All Def Comedy, the network confirmed to USA TODAY in a statement provided by HBO representative Nancy Lesser, which is still set to air Dec. 1.

“Russell Simmons will not appear in the new series and we will be removing his name from the show moving forward,” the statement read. “The series is a platform for promising and upcoming comedians and we do not want to deprive them of an opportunity to showcase their talents to a national audience. We have no other projects with Russell Simmons.”

Lumet, the daughter of director Sidney Lumet and granddaughter of singer/activist Lena Horne, said the incident occurred when she was 24 after she was trapped in Simmons’ car and taken to his apartment.

“I gave the driver my address on 19th Street and 2nd Avenue. You said to the driver: ‘No.'” she wrote, addressing Simmons directly. “Then, the car doors locked. I couldn’t open the doors. I couldn’t open the windows. The car was moving. The driver did not stop. He did not take me to 19th Street. He took me to your apartment.”

Lumet said she felt “afraid,” and noted there was penetration.

“At no time that night did I say: ‘Russell, I will go home with you.’  Or, ‘Come home with me.’ Or ‘I will have sex with you.’  Or ‘I have the desire to have sex with you.'” she wrote.

Simmons was previously accused of sexual assault by model Keri Claussen Khalighi in a detailed report published by The Los Angeles Times Nov. 19. In a statement to USA TODAY, Simmons “completely and unequivocally” denied those allegations.

Khalighi disputed Russell Simmons’ denials that he assaulted her when she was 17 during an interview on Megyn Kelly Today Nov. 22. She told Kelly that she engaged in multiple conversations with Simmons about the assault and he privately apologized to her for it. Read More

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