Music mogul Russell Simmons, founder of Def Jam Recordings, is ‘vehemently’ denying claims of sexual misconduct made by multiple women.
He has been accused of rape by four women and sexual assault or harassment by five other women in incidents that took place between 1983 and 2016.
The allegations were published on Wednesday in separate reports by the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times. They come just two weeks after the 60-year-old stepped down from his companies in the wake of two other sexual assault allegations, reports The Guardian.
Simmons took to Instagram to refute the claims as he wrote, “I have never had a sexual encounter that was not consensual or lawful. Ever.”
He further said in a statement, “I vehemently deny all these allegations. These horrific accusations have shocked me to my core and all of my relations have been consensual.”
Simmons added: “I have enormous respect for the women’s movement worldwide and their struggle for respect, dignity, equality and power. I am devastated by any reason I may have given to anyone to say or think of me in the ways that are currently being described.”
He continued, “In recent weeks, some former business, creative and romantic partners have aired grievances as claims I categorically reject. In some of these instances, financial motives and direct contradictory witness testimony has been supplied to the media, which has been completely left out of stories. In the last few days, one woman attempted to extort me for $500,000 only to recant her ridiculous claim. The current allegations sent to me by the New York Times and Los Angeles Times range from the patently untrue to the frivolous and hurtful. The presumption of innocent until proven guilty must not be replaced by ‘Guilty by Accusation.'”