Russell Simmons has vehemently denied sexual misconduct accusations from 16 different women over the past few months, with one new alleged victim accusing the hip hop mogul of full blown rape.
Sil Lai Abrams, a former Def Jam assistant and current domestic violence awareness activist, is accusing Simmons of raping her while she slept in 1994, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Abrams says she met Simmons in 1989 while working as a nightclub hostess in NYC, entering into a consensual sexual relationship soon after. After working at Def Jam as an executive assistant in 1992, she moved down south only to return to New York two years later.
In 1994, she made plans to hang out with her former lover platonically, telling Simmons she was now in a relationship and that the sexual aspect of their friendship was over. He agreed, saying he’d respect her wishes. After party hopping for the night, a sober Simmons, who allegedly only drank sparkling water all night, took a drunk Abrams back to his penthouse, even after she asked him to call a car to take her home.
While drifting in and out of sleep, she says, Simmons approached her, naked except for a condom, flipped her onto her stomach, pulled down her shorts and raped her, against her repeated protests. Simmons then told Abrams to spend the rest of the night back at her friend’s place, where she woke up. The following morning, Abrams attempted to commit suicide, later checking into Bellevue Hospital. Her roommate’s then-husband later called Simmons, demanding he cover her hospital bill, with Simmons reportedly responding, “That’s a lot of money for one night.”
Four years later, Simmons reportedly apologized, approaching her at nightclub outside of the women’s restroom, saying, “I’m sorry about what I did. I’m a different person now.”
Simmons, again, denies the accusations, with his attorney, Patricia Glaser, releasing the following statement to XXL:
“The Hollywood Reporter published an article despite material facts and witness statements shared with them that contradict Ms. Abrams’ account, all of which were omitted from the story. These documents include a declaration, sworn under oath, by someone who spoke with Ms. Abrams the day after her sexual encounter with Mr. Simmons and described it as consensual. Ms. Abrams’ account of the evening in her own book also contradicts multiple accusations printed by The Hollywood Reporter. After reporting on Ms. Abrams’ account for nearly a year, including the examination of all the facts, MSNBC and New York magazine declined to pursue the story. NBC said its news department had enlisted seasoned investigative journalists to assist Reid and that certain aspects of the story did not meet its standards. It’s disappointing, to say the least, that THR didn’t adhere to the same standards.”
Abrams also accused EXTRA host AJ Calloway of committing sexual assault in 2006, saying after a night out, he unwarrantedly exposed himself, grabbed her hand and forced her to masturbate him, apologizing the next day.
Calloway also denies such claims, according to a statement from his rep.
“I was disappointed to read the false allegations about me in The Hollywood Reporter. As I have maintained from the beginning, these allegations are not true. When I was first notified about these allegations by law enforcement more than a decade ago, I fully cooperated from the beginning and the case was dismissed,” he said. “THR chose to publish these meritless allegations without a thorough investigation of the facts. I intend to vigorously defend my reputation against these false accusations and will not let this cause further harm to my family.”
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Born and raised in Compton, California, Jessica Bennett began her career as an intern at The Oakland Post, and later, The Source Magazine. She went on to write for respected hip hop publications such as DJ Booth and Hip Hop DX before becoming the Urban Editor of pop culture website, Wetpaint.com. She joined Ebony as the Entertainment Editor August 2017. Bennett has interviewed such names as Vanessa Williams, Spike Lee, Tyra Banks, Forest Whitaker, Magic & Cookie Johnson and several others.