Russell Simmons Sued For Alleged Rape Of Def Jam Exec In The ’90s

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Russell Simmons has been sued for sexual harassment and battery by a former Def Jam Recordings executive, who is accusing him of rape. The complaint was filed in New York federal court on Tuesday.

Suing as a Jane Doe, the accuser is a former senior music executive and video producer at the label. She claims Simmons invited her to his New York apartment to approve a new video in the 1990s. “Ms. Doe repeatedly told Mr. Simmons to get off of her, but he refused,” the complaint states. “Mr. Simmons proceeded to rape her.”

He start to “wrestle” with her “in an attempt to appear playful,” but the “situation escalated into aggression,” with him pinning her down on a bed, the suit states. “Ms. Doe repeatedly told Mr. Simmons to get off of her, but he refused. Mr. Simmons proceeded to rape her.”

Afterward, the accuser struggled with panic attacks, depression and anxiety, impacting her ability to do her job. She resigned in 1997 to work as an executive producer for film and commercial production companies.

The suit also claimed that Simmons repeatedly harassed the accuser at Def Jam’s offices. “He would sit on her desk, lean over her, aggressively invading her personal space while making sexual innuendos, suggestions, and advances, and rubbing the front of his pants,” the suit reads. “Mr. Simmons would follow Ms. Doe to the door or block her path to prevent her from opening it again.”

The suit has allegations of battery, false imprisonment, intentional infliction of emotional distress and a violation of New York’s gender motivated violence law. It was brought under the state’s Adult Survivors Act.

In 2017, both model Keri Claussen Khalighi and writer Jenny Lumet came forward about being raped by Simmons in 1991. That same year, more women came forward in a Los Angeles Times investigative report and Simmons denied their claims.

If you or someone you know is undergoing sexual abuse, please visit or contact the National Sexual Assault Helpline at 1-800-656-4673.