HBO Removes Russell Simmons From 'All Def Comedy' After Sexual Assault Allegations
The brainchild behind Def Comedy Jam, Def Jam, Phat Farm and more, Russell Simmons, is stepping down in the wake of an accusation of harassment and sexual assault.
UPDATE: HBO just released a statement saying that they would be removing Russell Simmons from all episodes of their planned revival of All Def Comedy. You can check out the full statement below.
Original Story Underneath:
Russell Simmons released a statement Thursday, Nov. 30, after screenwriter Jenny Lumet accused him of forcing her to have sex with him in 1991. In a guest column published by The Hollywood Reporter, Jenny detailed the encounter, which prompted the response from Simmons. “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 intimidate 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.”
The Los Angeles Times published a report on Nov. 19 that detailed allegations of sexual misconduct made against director Brett Ratner and Simmons. Quoted in the story was a woman who said that Ratner and Simmons, 60, were “in it together.” Both men denied the allegations, with Simmons adding that, “abusing women in any way shape or form violates the very core of my being.” In his statement, Simmons continued by saying, “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. 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.”
Russell will be removing himself from all of the business that he founded, which includes and is not limited to, Global Grind, Def Jam, Rush Management, Def Comedy Jam, All Def Digital, Rush Communications, Def Pictures, the Russell Simmons Design Group, Diamond Empowerment Fund and Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation. For context behind all this, Lumet was reported offered a ride home by Simmons, but refused to take her to her address and instead ordered his driver to take her to his apartment, despite her repeatedly saying “no.” Russell was then accused of coercing Lumet into oral sex in 1991. “I couldn’t open the doors. I couldn’t open the windows. The car was moving. The driver did not stop … He took me to his apartment,” Lumet, daughter of the famous director Sidney Lumet wrote in her account. “I simply did what I was told. There was penetration.”
Lumet explained that she left, got her clothes and exited Simmons’ place after he ejaculated and never shared the story until Oct. 27 after allegations started coming out about Harvey Weinstein.