Russell Simmons accused of rape in lawsuit
Russell Simmons has been accused of rape in a $5 million federal lawsuit filed Wednesday in Los Angeles.
Documentary filmmaker Jennifer Jarosik alleges that the mogul used a potential business venture as a guise to assault her in 2016.
“Defendants Simmons reputation as a spiritual conscious person caused her to trust Defendant Simmons who promised her help to make her film and befriended her only to be victimized when he invited her to his home in Los Angeles, on the pretext that they would be discussing her project, only to be attacked, and raped by him,” the suit states. “Defendant, by reason of his experience in the entertainment industry exerted significant influence over her career.”
Simmons was never charged in connection with the alleged incident.
Jarosik is seeking compensation for alleged sexual assault and battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress and negligent infliction of emotional distress.
In a statement obtained by CNN on Thursday, Simmons called Jaroski’s allegations “absolutely untrue.”
“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,” Russell said in the statement. “In the meantime, please understand that I will not litigate this matter in the media. I am confident that when all is said and all is done, it will be as clear to others as it is to me that I did not do what this lawsuit accuses me of doing.”
In response, Jarosik’s attorney, Perry Wander, said in a statement to CNN that his client also intends to pursue criminal charges against Simmons.
“It’s time that the hip hop industry face the music and recognize that the deep rooted history of misogyny and discrimination against women in the music industry has to end,” Wander said. “#TimesUp.”
Simmons is the founder of hip-hop music label Def Jam Recordings, among other businesses.
In November, he stepped down from his companies after screenwriter Jenny Lumet wrote a column for The Hollywood Reporter in which she accused him of forcing her to have sex with him in 1991, an allegation Simmons denies.
“I know Jenny and her family and have seen her several times over the years since the evening she described,” he said in a statement. “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.”
Lumet was one of several women who have accused Simmons of sexual misconduct, including rape. New York Police opened an investigation into the allegations in December.
Simmons has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.