Screenwriter Jenny Lumet accused Def Jam co-founder Russell Simmons of assaulting her in his New York apartment in 1991 after she accepted a ride from him, and he refused to let his driver drop her at home.  In an article for the Hollywood Reporter, written as an open letter to Simmons, Lumet said he used his size to force her into the elevator of his apartment building. She said he assaulted her in his bedroom, where she feared he would use violence against her if she didn’t “stay as contained as [she] could.”

“There is so much guilt, and so much shame,” Lumet wrote. “There is an excruciating internal reckoning. As a woman of color, I cannot express how wrenching it is to write this about a successful man of color. Again, shame about who I was years ago, choices made years ago. In this very moment, I feel a pang to protect your daughters. I don’t think you are inclined to protect mine.”

Lumet is the daughter of director Sidney Lumet and journalist Gail Lumet Buckley, and granddaughter of the singer and actress Lena Horne.  She started her career as an actress and then became a screenwriter, best known for her script for the Jonathan Demme-directed Rachel Getting Married.

You can read her open letter in the Hollywood Reporter HERE.

The full statement from Russell Simmons is listed below:

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.

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. As the corridors of power inevitably make way for a new generation, I don’t want to be a distraction so I am removing myself from the businesses that I founded. The companies will now be run by a new and diverse generation of extraordinary executives who are moving the culture and consciousness forward. I will convert the studio for yogic science into a not-for-profit center of learning and healing. As for me, I will step aside and commit myself to continuing my personal growth, spiritual learning and above all to listening.

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