Russell Simmons Denies Sexual Assault Allegations, Starts ‘#NotMe’ Movement 

Russell Simmons at Build Studio in New York City.
Russell Simmons at Build Studio in New York City. Mireya Acierto/FilmMagic

Russell Simmons took to Instagram on Thursday, December 14, to deny the sexual assault allegations made against him and start a new hashtag in response to the #MeToo movement — #NotMe.

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“Today, I begin to properly defend myself,” Simmons wrote on Instagram. “I will prove without any doubt that I am innocent of all rape charges. Today, I will focus on “The Original Sin” (Keri Claussen), the claim that created this insane pile on of my #MeToo. Stay tuned! We’ll share information today… And tomorrow the case of Jenny Lumet. My intention is not to diminish the #MeToo movement in anyway, but instead hold my accusers accountable. #NotMe Again, this is not a movement against or even in conjunction with #Metoo . It’s just a statement about my innocence.”

As previously reported, Simmons was accused of sexual misconduct by a woman named Keri Claussen Khalighi on November 19. He was later accused of sexual assualt by screenwriter Jenny Lumet on November 30. Simmons was also accused of sexual assault by nine more women in a reports published by The New York Times and Los Angeles Times on Wednesday, December 13. Four women accused the music mogul of rape.

The Def Jam Recordings cofounder issued a statement in response to the allegations made against him on November 19.

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“As a long-time social activist, I have applauded the strength of the brave men and women who have spoken out over the past month and made their voices heard regarding sexual assault and harassment,” the statement to Us Weekly read at the time. “I am a supporter of the #MeToo campaign and the victims who were previously terrified to stand up and speak out against sexual misconduct. I completely and unequivocally deny the horrendous allegations of non-consensual sex against me with every fiber of my being I know Keri Claussen Khalighi and remember the weekend in 1991 that she has referenced. Everything that happened between us 26 years ago was completely consensual and with Keri’s full participation.”

Simmons stepped down from his businesses after Lumet’s accusation and released the following statement to Us Weekly: “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 and humbly apologize.”

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TMZ reports that the NYPD is investigating the allegations made against Simmons and claim his lawyers said he took and passed a polygraph test to address Khalighi’s allegation.

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