News

We have a sneaking suspicion Russell Simmons won’t be attending Art Basel this year

It seems like a powerful man is taken down by sexual harassment allegations almost every day. Literally.

The list is almost getting too long to remember but it includes:

Harvey Weinstein. Charlie Rose. Kevin Spacey. Louis CK. Ed Westwick. Al Franken. Jeffrey Tambor . Brett Ratner. Jeremy Piven. President GHWB.

James Toback. Ben Affleck (and Casey). Oliver Stone. Dustin Hoffman. George Takei. Danny Masterson. Ryan Seacrest.  Garrison Keiller.

Matt Lauer’s day of reckoning came on Wednesday, with his firing from the “Today” show.

So who went down Thursday?

Russell Simmons. And by the sounds of it, we have a feeling he won’t be coming to Art Basel Miami Beach this year (the Def Jam Records founder has held his Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation fundraising event during the art fair for a number of years).

The music and clothing mogul announced he is stepping away from his empire, and he just released a statement addressing charges leveled against him by Jenny Lumet, the screenwriter daughter of director Sidney Lumet. She wrote a column in The Hollywood Reporter charging that Simmons sexually violated her.

It was in open letter format detailing what he had allegedly done back in 1991: She writes that he took her home from a NYC club, had the driver lock the doors of the car and then forced her to go to his apartment where Simmons “penetrated” her against her will.

Simmons subsequently put out the following statement:

“I have been informed with great anguish of Jenny Lumet’s recollection about our night together in 1991. I know Jenny and her family and have seen her several times over the years since the evening she described. While her memory of that evening is very different from mine, it is now clear to me that her feelings of fear and intimidation are real. While I have never been violent, I have been thoughtless and insensitive in some of my relationships over many decades and I sincerely and humbly apologize.”

Simmons then goes on to say he is stepping away from his empire.

“This is a time of great transition. The voices of the voiceless, those who have been hurt or shamed, deserve and need to be heard. As the corridors of power inevitably make way for a new generation, I don’t want to be a distraction so I am removing myself from the businesses that I founded. The companies will now be run by a new and diverse generation of extraordinary executives who are moving the culture and consciousness forward. I will convert the studio for yogic science into a not-for-profit center of learning and healing. As for me, I will step aside and commit myself to continuing my personal growth, spiritual learning and above all to listening.”
This isn’t the first time someone has accused Kimora Lee Simmons’ ex husband of bad behavior. The same year. At the same apartment.
Model Keri Claussen Khalighi came forward to accuse the mega producer of sexual misconduct when she was just 17. She said Ratner was there too, and just watched.
Simmons released on Twitter saying he remembered the evening differently.

  Comments