Russell Simmons is sued for allegedly raping a documentary filmmaker in 2016
Def Jam founder Russell Simmons was accused in a federal lawsuit filed Wednesday afternoon of raping a woman in 2016 at his Hollywood Hills home.
The allegation from Jennifer Jarosik, a 37-year-old documentary filmmaker, comes after nearly a dozen women came forward in media reports to accuse the hip-hop mogul of rape and sexual assault over three decades. At least three of the women alleged Simmons had raped them.
The New York Police Department said last month it had opened an investigation into Simmons, who has styled himself as a yoga and meditation guru in recent years. He announced he was stepping down from his businesses after the allegations emerged.
Simmons has denied the claims against him and on Wednesday called the allegations in the lawsuit “hurtful” and “absolutely untrue.”
“I look forward to having my day in court — where, unlike the court of public opinion, I will have the ability to make use of fair processes that ensure that justice will be done and that the full truth will be known,” Simmons said in a statement. “In the meantime … I will not litigate this matter in the media. I am confident that when all is said and all is done, it will be as clear to others as it is to me that I did not do what this lawsuit accuses me of doing. These horrific accusations have shocked me to my core and all of my relations have been consensual.”
In the lawsuit filed in Los Angeles, Jarosik alleged that Simmons invited her to his home to discuss her documentary film project in August 2016. When she rebuffed his advances for sex, he got aggressive and pushed her onto his bed, she alleged.
She said Simmons knocked her off his bed, causing her to hit her head, and raped her while she was “in shock and fear,” according to the lawsuit.
Jarosik’s attorney, Perry Wander, said she didn’t report the attack or confront Simmons about it because she wanted to continue working in the industry. He said Jarosik was working on a film about female empowerment, which Simmons was discussing co-producing and possibly financing, the attorney said.
Wander said Jarosik confronted Simmons over text messages after the first allegations emerged late last year. Simmons denied the accusations and stopped responding, according to the attorney.
The suit seeks $5 million in damages.
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