In November, model Keri Clausen Khalighi came forward with allegations that Def Jam founder Russell Simmons and director Brett Ratner made “aggressive sexual advances” toward her when she was 17. She later added that Simmons had given her a “really touching” apology recently, but she was disappointed in his decision to continue denying her allegations publicly. Now, The New York Times has a report on four additional women who have come forward with allegations against Simmons, with three of them saying that he raped them.
Those three women all say they were pursuing careers in the music industry at the time, but their experiences with Simmons partly “disrupted or derailed” their plans. One, a singer named Tina Baker who was managed by Simmons in the ‘90s, said that she “didn’t sing for almost a year” after allegedly being raped by Simmons. Another, Toni Sallie, had been working as a music journalist and briefly dated Simmons in the ‘80s, but she says he invited her to his apartment after they broke up and he “physically attacked” her before allegedly raping her. Sallie says Simmons tried to assault her again at a music conference in Florida a year later, and though she was able to fight him off and get away, any industry executives she told about the incident had ignored her.
The third woman, Drew Dixon, worked with Simmons at Def Jam in the early ‘90s. She says he immediately began making “sexual advances” toward her and that he quickly “became relentless,” with Dixon saying he would close the door to her office and “expose himself.” In 1995, an album she executive produced with Simmons went platinum, and he managed to convince her to stop by his apartment one night. She says he pinned her down and raped her, though she admits she has “disassociated from the experience” and doesn’t remember all of it.
Shortly after that, she resigned from Def Jam and threatened to sue Simmons for sexual harassment. He offered her a settlement, which she took, explaining that she wanted to be famous for making records not “for being sexually harassed by Russell Simmons.” She took a job at Arista Records, but when L.A. Reid took over that label he also allegedly began sexually harassing her. (Reid was ousted from Epic Records earlier this year for allegedly harassing an employee “on a daily basis.”) Dixon left the music industry in 2002, telling The New York Times, “I gave up something that I loved to do…I want people to know why.”
Simmons has denied all of the allegations, releasing a statement that says he believe that all of his “relations have been consensual.” You can see his full statement at Variety.