Music mogul Russell Simmons, who has denied a dozen sexual assault allegations with a #NotMe social-media campaign, issued another vigorous rejection of “horrific” allegations on Tuesday, claiming he’s being extorted.
“I vehemently deny all these allegations,” he said in a lengthy statement issued by his rep, Eric Rose. “These horrific accusations have shocked me to my core and all of my relations have been consensual.
“The current allegations range from the patently untrue to the frivolous and hurtful,” he added. “The presumption of ‘innocent until proven guilty’ must not be replaced by ‘Guilty by Accusation.’ ”
Simmons was responding to reports Tuesday that two more women had filed criminal complaints with the New York Police Department alleging they had been raped by Simmons in Manhattan in 1983 and in 1991 respectively.
Detective Sophia Mason repeated, in an email to USA TODAY, what the NYPD has been saying all along in response to questions about Simmons: “The NYPD has received information regarding allegations involving Russell Simmons in the NYC area and our detectives are in the process of reviewing that information.”
Hines, a member of the all-female hip-hop group Mercedes Ladies, alleged Simmons raped her in his Manhattan office around 1983. The other woman, according to TMZ, alleges Simmons raped her at his Manhattan residence after they’d gone out on a date in 1991.
These accusations bring the total to more than a dozen women who have told The New York Times or other media outlets that Simmons raped, attempted to rape or committed other sexual misconduct against them in encounters dating back decades. Some of the accusers have been named, most of them remain anonymous.
Three women have accused hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons of rape.
Before Tuesday, the NYPD had said it was looking into at least a half-dozen criminal complaints against Simmons.
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Simmons rejects all of this, saying he was blessed to have “shared extraordinary relationships” with many women and “I have enormous respect for the women’s movement worldwide and their struggle for respect, dignity, equality and power.”
He said he’s been the target of extortion. In the last few days, he said, “one woman attempted to extort me for $500,000 only to recant her ridiculous claim.”
“In recent weeks, some former business, creative and romantic partners have aired grievances as claims I categorically reject,” his statement said. “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.
Simmons said he has apologized for “instances of thoughtlessness” in consensual relationships, and he separated from his businesses and charities in the wake of the first accusations.
He said he has conducted his life with “a message of peace and love,” and is now “re-dedicated” to spiritual learning, healing and charity work.
“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,” his statement said. “What I will not accept is responsibility for what I have not done…I will relentlessly fight against any untruthful character assassination that paints me as a man of violence.”
Simmons is just one of scores of powerful men felled in recent months by the tide of allegations of sexual misconduct that accompanied the revelations about alleged sexual predator Harvey Weinstein, the movie mogul accused by more than 80 women of sexual harassment, assault, coercion or rape in episodes dating back decades.
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