Following New Allegations Of Sexual Misconduct, Russell Simmons Claims He’s Been Extorted
The New York Police Department revealed this week that two new women came forward in December to file complaints of sexual misconduct against music mogul Russell Simmons. The women say they were sexually assaulted by the 60-year-old in 1983 and 1991.
According to TMZ, one of the accusers who filed a report is Sherri Hines, a rapper from the group Mercedes Ladies, who said he raped her at his office in 1983. Last month, she shared that story while appearing on Megyn Kelly’s Today hour. The other woman, who wanted to remain anonymous, claims she was assaulted at the mogul’s home after a date with him in 1991 when she rejected his advances.
The NYPD is reportedly investigating seven other claims of sexual misconduct against Simmons, but he denies them all – including these new allegations.
“I am blessed to have shared extraordinary relationships, whether through work or love, with many great women; and I have enormous respect for the women’s movement worldwide and their struggle for respect, dignity, equality and power,” he said in a statement obtained by ABC News. “I am devastated by any reason I may have given to anyone to say or think of me in the ways that are currently being described.”
Simmons went on to reveal that not only does he have witness testimony that contradicts claims made against him, but he’s also been extorted.
“In recent weeks, some former business, creative and romantic partners have aired grievances as claims I categorically reject. In some of these instances, financial motives and direct contradictory witness testimony has been supplied to the media, which has been completely left out of stories,” he said. “In the last few days, one woman attempted to extort me for $500,000 only to recant her ridiculous claim. The current allegations range from the patently untrue to the frivolous and hurtful. The presumption of innocent until proven guilty must not be replaced by ‘guilty by association.'”
It’s unclear whether or not this extortion information has been shared with police.
And while he denies all accusations, calling them “horrific” and standing by his relations being consensual, Simmons did step down from his companies in November as more claims were lobbed his way. He claimed that he didn’t want to be a distraction for his businesses and the conversation being had about sexual harassment, and to also do some spiritual work on himself.
“I have re-dedicated myself to spiritual learning, healing and working on behalf of the communities to which I have devoted my life. I have accepted that I can and should get dirt on my sleeves if it means witnessing the birth of a new consciousness about women,” he said in his statement to ABC News. “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.”