September 18, 2018

Russell Simmons Faces New Rape Accusation in a First-Person Account

Another woman has accused Russell Simmons of rape, the latest of at least a dozen allegations of sexual misconduct against the hip-hop mogul that began surfacing last year.

In a largely first-person account published by Variety on Tuesday, Alexia Norton Jones said that in 1990, she and Mr. Simmons, a co-founder of Def Jam Recordings, went on a first date, at the end of which he invited her to see his new Manhattan apartment.

Once inside, she said, he quickly attacked her. “I remember being pushed up against a wall,” Ms. Jones said. “He pulled my dress up. I must have said no seven to 10 times.” Ms. Jones said she finally acquiesced, and then left, shaken.

Ms. Jones, a granddaughter of the founders of the publishing house W.W. Norton and a daughter of Clarence B. Jones, a lawyer and confidant for the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., said that she and Mr. Simmons ran in the same social circles. After the encounter, “there was nobody to tell, because we had the same friends,” she said, adding that she grew depressed and her sense of self-esteem “eroded.”

“I was a gem,” she said. “And he turned me into dirt.” (She eventually confided in her therapist, with whom Variety confirmed the substance of their conversations.)

In a telephone interview on Tuesday, Ms. Jones said that until other women began coming forward with allegations of rape and assault against Mr. Simmons, “I thought I was the only one.”

Mr. Simmons has steadfastly denied the multiple accusations against him, and in a statement to The New York Times on Tuesday in response to Ms. Jones’s account, he said: “I have respectfully, factually and comprehensively denied the charges of sexual violence against me.” He added that he had supplied statements from witnesses attesting to his innocence, concluding: “It is certainly true that there were and remain hurdles to calling out abusers. I have said from Day 1 that I support and advocate truth-telling and holding abusers fully to account.”

Mr. Simmons told Variety that he and Ms. Jones had dated and “attended multiple events together” after that night in 1990. Ms. Jones said that Mr. Simmons continued calling her, and they ran into each other occasionally.

But “his idea that we dated is preposterous,” she said in the telephone interview, adding that she had her calendar datebook from those years, noting her whereabouts, and a diary where she referenced what happened that night and how she felt seeing Mr. Simmons afterward. “I was disgusted by him,” she said.

Mr. Simmons, 60, stepped down from his companies in November, after Jenny Lumet, a screenwriter, wrote an account in which she said Mr. Simmons “sexually violated” her at his apartment in 1991. In December, The Times published an investigation in which three women accused Mr. Simmons of raping them at his Manhattan apartment. The New York Police Department began interviewing women who said Mr. Simmons had assaulted them, but several of the women said they were told by the police that their allegations were outside of the statute of limitations for rape. The police took the reports in case more recent and prosecutable complaints surfaced, a law enforcement official said at the time.

Ms. Jones also filed a report with the police this spring, she said, and went over her calendar and diary entries with a detective. She said that she hoped that even if her complaint was too old to be prosecuted, it would still spur others to come forward.

Though she had forgiven Mr. Simmons for his alleged attack — “Russell doesn’t get to be my jailer,” she told Variety — she said she was motivated to speak out because of his continued denials. “It just infuriated me,” she said. “I can’t be quiet.”

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/10/arts/music/russell-simmons-rape-accusation.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

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