Russell Simmons Launches ‘#NotMe’ to Defend Against Rape Allegations

LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 24: Founder of All Def Digital Russell Simmons speaks at the Fast Company Creativity Counter-Conference 2016 on May 24, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for Fast Company)
Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for Fast Company

Russell Simmons is using the hashtag “#NOTME” to defend himself after three women accused the music mogul of rape this week.

Three women claimed to the New York Times in a bombshell report Wednesday that the Def Jam Recordings founder raped them in a series of alleged incidents between 1988 and 1995. Those women joined several others who have accused Simmons of sexual assault in recent weeks, including screenwriter Jenny Lumet.

Simmons stepped down from his Rush Communications media empire last month over the allegations, as HBO and clothing retailer J.C. Penney cut ties, even as he has repeatedly denied the claims.

But now Simmons has taken to Instagram to further defend himself, using the hashtag “#NOTME” and vowing to hold his accusers “accountable.”

“Today, I begin to properly defend myself,” he wrote in a post Thursday morning. “I will prove without any doubt that I am innocent of all rape charges.”

Simmons wrote that he would address “The Original Sin,” apparently referring to the first allegation of misconduct against him from former model Keri Claussen, who told the Los Angeles Times in November that Simmons allegedly forced her to perform oral sex on him at his New York City apartment while producer-director Brett Ratner was present and watched.

Simmons also said he would address Lumet’s claim. Lumet, the daughter of film legend Sidney Lumet, penned an essay last month accusing the music mogul of sexual assault.

“My intention is not to diminish the #MeToo movement in anyway, but instead hold my accusers accountable,” he concluded the post. “Again, this is not a movement against or even in conjunction with #MeToo. It’s just a statement about my innocence.”

Simmons is one of dozens of prominent figures in entertainment and media to have been accused of sexual misconduct in recent months.

The mogul appeared to have deactivated his Twitter account in the wake of the latest rape allegations.


Follow Daniel Nussbaum on Twitter: @dznussbaum


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