Women accuse rap mogul Russell Simmons of rape
NEW YORK – Agence France-PResse
At least three women say that they were raped by hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons, who recently left his business empire following abuse allegations, The New York Times reported Dec. 13.
The 60-year-old hip-hop legend denied the rape accusations -- which date back to 1988 -- and voiced support for the growing movement of women speaking out against abusive men.
Simmons announced on Nov. 30 that he was stepping down from his business roles after two women accused him of assault, which he also denied.
But The New York Times article described an alleged pattern of behavior by the enormously influential Def Jam Recordings co-founder, who was accused of preying on women entering the industry.
Tina Baker, a singer who has performed back-up for Madonna and Bruce Springsteen, said Simmons was her manager when he invited her to his apartment in 1990 or 1991.
She told the newspaper that he pinned her down and raped her. The Times said the account was confirmed by four people close to her including her ex-husband and therapist.
Simmons said he never had sex with Baker. He said in a statement: “I vehemently deny all these allegations.”
Simmons and fellow producer Rick Rubin helped bring hip-hop to wide U.S. audiences in the 1980s when they founded Def Jam, a label that signed major acts such as the Beastie Boys, LL Cool J and later Public Enemy.
Accusations of rape and sexual harassment against now-disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein have opened the floodgates, prompting scores of women to speak up about abuse in the entertainment and media industries as well as in politics.
PBS has suspended talk show host Tavis Smiley over “allegations of sexual misconduct,” PBS NewsHour reported Dec. 14.
An investigation by a law firm hired by PBS “uncovered multiple, credible allegations of conduct that is inconsistent with the values and standards of PBS,” NewsHour quoted a spokeswoman as saying.
In a statement, Smiley vehemently denied any misconduct and accused PBS of conducting “a biased and sloppy investigation, which led to a rush to judgment, and trampling on a reputation that I have spent an entire lifetime trying to establish.”