11 Women Have Now Accused Russell Simmons of Sexual Misconduct
On Wednesday (Dec. 13), The New York Times reported that three women came forward to accuse famed music mogul Russell Simmons of raping them. On the opposite end of the country, The Los Angeles Times published a report that included sexual misconduct accusations from several more women across a span of 30 years.
The first woman discussed in The Los Angeles Times report is actress Natashia Williams-Blach, who starred in the Simmons-produced 1996 film, How to Be a Player. At the time she was a freshman at UCLA, and she says that Simmons tried forcing her to perform oral sex on him after they took a yoga class. According to Williams-Blach, she got herself out of that situation by telling Simmons she had to get back to UCLA so she could go to study hall.
The second accuser in the story is a massage therapist named Erin Beattie, who says Simmons exposed himself to her as she gave him a massage at a Seattle, Wash. hotel in 2005. She reports that the mogul then asked her to touch his penis, and she declined before telling him she wouldn't tolerate her sexual advances.
“He just expected that that was what was going to happen,” she tells The Los Angeles Times. “He couldn’t believe I would say no.” She claims she told Simmons she would either leave or she would finish the massage as long as he agreed that he wouldn't try to initiate any more sexual activities, and the rest of the massage passed without another incident.
Former Tantris general manager Karen Russell—Tantris is a yoga studio in West Hollywood owned by Simmons—says there was a "sexually charged and tense" atmosphere when Simmons was at Tantris, where he often oversaw programs at the studio. Another former Tantris instructor says she left the studio because Simmons maintained a controlling environment where yoga and women were sexualized for the sake of making money.
Sherri Hines, who met Simmons at a New York City nightclub when she was "17 or 18," says Simmons invited her into his new office in 1983. That's when she alleges the then-fledgling mogul pinned her down and proceeded to rape her.
Lisa Kirk, who had dated one of Simmons' friends in the 1980s, alleges that Simmons attempted to sexually assault her in a New York City nightclub bathroom in 1988, five years after Hines says Simmons raped her in his office.
Amanda Seales, who stars in HBO's hit TV series, Insecure, alleges that Simmons had initiated some inappropriate sexual banter when they met to discuss the possibility of working together.
As told, Simmons has now been accused of sexual misconduct by 11 women. First, model Keri Claussen Khalighi accused Simmons of sexual assault, while The Mummy scribe Jenny Lumet stepped forth to accuse Simmons of the same thing a short while later. Following Lumet's accusations, he issued a statement he was stepping down from the companies he owns.
In The New York Times story, former Def Jam employee Drew Dixon, singer Tina Baker and music journalist Toni Sallie all accused Simmons of rape. Christina Moore, who met Simmons at Art Basel in 2014, says the mogul sexually assaulted her after inviting her and a friend to his room.
To date, Simmons has vehemently denied accusations from women whose accusations preceded those in The New York Times and Los Angeles Times. He has since denied accusations in stories from both of the publications.
See 10 Times Rappers Went at Fox News