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Russell Simmons Accused of Sexual Assault in South Florida

Russell SimmonsEXPAND
Russell Simmons
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Following the deluge of accusations outing several prominent entertainers and media figures as sexual predators, hip-hop honcho and record executive Russell Simmons has been among those accused of habitual sexual misconduct. Of the numerous incidents described, three are said to have taken place in South Florida.

Last month, the Los Angeles Times reported that Simmons, along with Miami-born film director Brett Ratner, had allegedly harassed model Tanya Reid in Miami. In the article, Reid, who had been working the front desk at a South Beach hotel in 1994 to supplement her modeling career, accused Simmons of repeatedly pressuring her to perform oral sex on Ratner. The Times also alleged Simmons committed a more egregious act of sexual assault when he purportedly coerced then-underage model Keri Claussen Khalighi into performing oral sex on him before forcibly penetrating her in the shower.

After releasing a statement in which the Def Jam cofounder claimed to “not recall a conversation with a hotel front desk clerk over a quarter of a century ago," Simmons was accused of similar behavior by screenwriter Jenny Lumet. Although he denied these accusations, Simmons stepped away from his myriad business endeavors November 30, contending to not “want to be a distraction” to his company’s employees.

In tandem with a follow-up report from the Los Angeles Times containing more accusations, the New York Times published an article last night detailing accounts from four women who allege they were sexually assaulted by Simmons. Three of the women quoted by the New York Times claim he raped them, and two of them describe separate instances of sexual harassment by the music mogul in South Florida.

Toni Sallie worked as a music journalist when she met Simmons while conducting an assignment for Black Radio Exclusive in 1987. As documented in the Times article, Sallie and Simmons went on a few dates before Sallie decided she no longer wished to see him.

Sallie told the paper Simmons raped her in his Manhattan apartment in 1988. Roughly a year later, the two ran into each other in a hotel lobby during a music conference in South Florida. In the incident described by Sallie, Simmons attempted to lead her to a dark beach, but she rebuffed the advance. Simmons then allegedly attacked her, grabbing her by the hair and chasing her into the women’s restroom. Sallie eventually evaded him by barricading herself in her hotel room. According to Sallie, the episode left her traumatized and unable to “feel comfortable in a room full of men.”

Christina Moore told the Times she had an uncomfortable interaction with Simmons in Miami during Art Basel in 2014. Moore and her friend arrived at Soho Beach House during the ritzy international gathering with the intention of meeting a group of friends. The two wound up encountering Simmons in an elevator beforehand. 

After they allegedly told Simmons they couldn't find the bar where they were supposed to meet friends, he offered assistance, claiming to know his way around the members' club. Instead, he led them to his room, where he immediately began to run a bath.

It was at this point, Moore says, that Simmons pressed her against a column in his room and began to run his hands up and down her body. She alleges that Simmons told her she was a bad girl and that he would tie her up. Moore and her friend fled immediately, adding she “felt assaulted.”

In addition to Simmons' assertions of innocence, the Times published a statement from him in which he denied all allegations and said all of his relations have been consensual.

“In recent weeks, some former business, creative, and romantic partners have aired grievances as claims I categorically reject... I have already apologized for the instances of thoughtlessness in my consensual relations,” Simmons wrote. “What I will not accept is responsibility for what I have not done.”

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