Russell Simmons has been accused of rape by three women and sexual assault by a fourth in incidents stretching from 1988 to 2014, all of which he denies. Drew Dixon was an executive at Def Jam who reported directly to Simmons, and says that after a campaign of harassment by her boss that included graphic descriptions during work calls of how she aroused him and frequently exposing his erect penis to her, Simmons raped her in 1995 in his Manhattan apartment.
A former music journalist named Toni Sallie alleges that after going on a few dates with Simmons and deciding the relationship had run its course, he invited her to his home under the false pretense that he was throwing a party. When Sallie arrived she says no one was there, and Simmons lead her to his bedroom where he forced her onto a bed and raped her.
The third woman to level rape allegations at Simmons in the story is Tina Baker, a singer who Simmons managed in the early 1990s when she performed under the name Tina B. Baker says that Simmons invited her to his home one night, a place she had been to “many times before” and so did not hesitate to visit again, and pinned her down onto his bed and attacked her. Baker remembers Simmons telling her “Don’t fight me” at which point she says, “I did nothing, I shut my eyes and waited for it to end.” Simmons remained Baker’s manager after the alleged rape, and so she continued to interact with him and he continued to harass her. Following the supposed attack, Baker says her career “went into oblivion,” and personally, the PTSD prevented her from pursuing sex with men for almost a decade after. Each accuser had multiple friends or associates provide corroborating accounts to the Times of being told about the alleged rapes shortly after they would have occurred.
Simmons went through an image overhaul around 2010, calling himself Uncle Rush and saying he was devoting his life to spiritual betterment through pursuits like meditation. The fourth accuser in the Times story, however, says her incident occurred in Miami in 2014, when Simmons tricked her and a friend into going back to his room where he assaulted her. Christina Moore claims that Simmons took it upon himself to draw a bath for the two of them, and then started groping her without consent. Moore says her and her friend were able to get out of the room before anything else happened.
On behalf of Simmons, his attorney Brad D. Rose denied to The Times any accusations of non-consensual sex, though Dixon claims he even apologized to her years after the alleged incident when they saw each other at an industry event.
“He said, ‘I have daughters and I do yoga now, Drew, and I know what I did was wrong, and I’m sorry,’” Dixon recalled. (Dixon eventually moved on to Arista Records, where she says she was also harassed by L.A. Reid, who took over the company in 2000, and eventually left the music industry all together for Harvard Business School in 2002 after she says she realized, “I could not have success in this industry unless I slept with somebody — a gatekeeper,” adding, “and the fact that I would be doing it to advance my career, I would hate myself.” Reid is rumored to have left his position atop Epic Records earlier this year because of accusations of sexual harassment.)
The four women in the Times report join multiple others who have recently accused Simmons of sexual misconduct. In mid-November, Simmons was folded into the assault scandal surrounding producer Brett Ratner, who he is alleged to have participated in acts of misconduct with for years.
One woman, a model named Keri Claussen Khalighi, claims that in 1991, Simmons forced her to give him oral sex in his apartment while Ratner watched, and then “briefly penetrated her without her consent” while she was taking a shower afterwards. Like Dixon, Khalighi says Simmons apologized to her following the encounter. (The same day that story broke, actor Terry Crews posted a message from Simmons to him that show Simmons asking Crews to give his alleged sexual assaulter, WME executive Adam Venit, a pass.)
Shortly after the accusations from Khalinghi went public, Rachel Getting Married screenwriter Jenny Lumet accused him of sexual assault, and in response Simmons stepped down from the business ventures he leads to commit himself to “personal growth, spiritual learning and above all to listening.” He maintains that he has never assaulted anyone, saying “While I have never been violent, I have been thoughtless and insensitive in some of my relationships over many decades and I sincerely apologize.”