Two of the women who have accused Russell Simmons of sexual misconduct shared details about their alleged experiences with the music mogul Tuesday morning on NBC’s “Today.”
Natashia Williams-Blach and Sheri Hines, who first publicly accused Simmons last week in a Los Angeles Times article, sat down with Megyn Kelly for the interview.
Simmons has denied all allegations of nonconsensual sexual activity. Both women took issue with a letter that the Def Jam co-founder wrote to the Hollywood Reporter in which he talked about his spiritual evolution and said, “I can sleep at night because I know who I am.”
Williams-Blach, an actress, said that letter was what prompted her to come in off the sidelines. She said that when she was 18, Simmons unsuccessfully tried to force her to perform oral sex on him after the two had attended a yoga class.
“It’s all so fast when you’re in that moment. …,” she said. “I’m present, I’m seeing it all happen, but I’m shocked.”
Hines, a hip-hop musician, said that when she was 17 or 18, Simmons invited her to his new office and then raped her. She’d gone with him, she said, in hopes of asking him about a failed record deal involving her group Mercedes Ladies.
Last week, NYPD detectives said they were in the early stages of reaching out to women who had accused Simmons. Hines said Tuesday that she had been contacted but hadn’t yet talked to the police; Williams-Blach said nobody had reached out to her so far.
In another television interview related to alleged sexual misconduct, on Monday night, “NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt” featured three women who have accused Dustin Hoffman of inappropriate behavior.
“I’ve been lying for 34 years,” Kathryn Rossetter told correspondent Cynthia McFadden about the alleged incidents in the 1980s. “People go, ‘How was it to work with Dustin?’ And I tell the half-truth, which is as an actor, I owe him everything.” Then her voice hitched.
“I learned so much,” said the actress, who performed with Hoffman in “Death of a Salesman” on Broadway. “And then I would stop and there would be a knot in my stomach.”
Fellow accusers Cori Thomas, a playwright, and Anna Graham Hunter, a former intern who worked on the TV version of “Salesman,” were also on the nightly news show. The Times has not independently confirmed the women’s allegations.
Hoffman attorney Mark A. Neubauer of Carlton Fields Jorden Burt told Variety last week that the women’s stories were “defamatory falsehoods.”