Russell Simmons empire is crumbling down.
When Russell Simmons was first accused of sexual assault on November 19th by model Keri Claussen Khalighi, it seemed as if people took the allegations lightly since he was not fired or asked to step down from any of his high positions.
That has all changed today since screen-writer Jenny Lumet shared an open-letter to The Hollywood Reporter telling her story of a time Russell used his "size to manoeuvre" her into his apartment where she alleges she asked Russell to "wait" before they had sex, but he didn't listen. Since the letter made headlines, Russell has stepped down from his founding record company, Def Jam and his fashion house Phat Farm.
The latest company to end ties with Russell is the powerhouse network, HBO. The company, who has close ties with the music mogul, has announced today that they will be distancing themselves from Russell amid the allegations, more specifically they will be removing his name from the upcoming All Def Comedy.
“HBO will be airing All Def Comedy as planned,” the network said in a statement via Deadline. “However, Russell Simmons will not appear in the new series and we will be removing his name from the show moving forward. The series is a platform for promising and upcoming comedians and we do not want to deprive them of an opportunity to showcase their talents to a national audience. We have no other projects with Russell Simmons.”
When Jenny shared her letter to the media today, Russel responded with an apology:
"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 apologize." Read the rest of his apology here.