Legendary music producer and mogul Russell Simmons is stepping down from his business after several claims of alleged sexual harassment turn up. According to Hollywood Reporter, model Keri Claussen spoke out about how she was harassed by Simmons. After Simons denied that it happened that is when award-winning screenwriter Sidney Lumet decided to share about her own experience with Simmons.
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Lumet in her letter mentioned that she first met him in 1987 and over the next couple of years she would see him at local nightclubs. They had mutual friends and she always thought that Simmons was very funny and cool. She said for years Russell tried to pursue her, he even sent 250 balloons with the note, “Please baby, please baby, baby, baby, baby, baby.” She was flattered and then began talking about the night she shared a car with him. She said, “At no time that night did I say: Russell, I will go home with you”. Or, “Come home with me.” Or “I will have sex with you.” Or “I have the desire to have sex with you.” The driver refused to bring her home and when she tried to ask Simmons a question he sat there in silence and then the doors locked.
The car stopped at a curb and she felt scared as she got out the car. He took her into a back elevator and she said, “Alone in the elevator, you pressed me into the corner with your body, your hands and your mouth.” When they got upstairs to the apartment he closed the door, Lumet said, “There was penetration. At one point you were only semi-erect and appeared frustrated. Angry? I remember being afraid that you would deem that my fault and become violent. I did not know if you were angry, but I was afraid that you were.” Upstairs in the dark apartment she recalled saying, “You told me to turn over on my stomach. You said something about a part of my body. You did not ejaculate inside me.”
She left that evening and went home. Since that incident she had seen Simmons several times at different events including a Vanity Fair Party and the NAACP Image Awards. It wasn’t until after the Harvey Weinstein story came about and claims about Simmons turned up in the news. Simmons had said about the Weinstein situation, ““Abusing women in any way shape or form violates the very core of my being.” In response to what Lumet said, Simmons has decided to step down in his businesses and “commit myself to continuing my personal growth, spiritual learning and above all to listening.” He also said, “While I have never been violent, I have been thoughtless and insensitive in some of my relationships over many decades and I sincerely apologize.” We will keep you updated on this story.
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