The granddaughter of a prominent book publisher is the latest woman to come forward and accuse Russell Simmons of rape, which adds to a growing list of troubling sexual harassment claims against the music mogul, reports Variety.
The latest accusation comes from Alexia Norton Jones, (she is the granddaughter of late book publisher W.W. Norton) who claims that in 1990, Simmons took her out on a date and afterward pinned her to a wall, attacking and then raping her in his downtown Manhattan apartment.
“He pulled my dress up. I must have said no seven to 10 times,” she told Variety. “It was such a fast attack.”
Jones was a 31-year-old aspiring model and actress at the time. She said she left his apartment distraught and in shock. She recalled the incident to Variety saying:
“After the attack, the top of my dress was still intact. I pulled it back up into shape and went home. There was nobody to tell, because we had the same friends. I later confided in my therapist. This was my concern, to be honest with you: he didn’t use a condom. I was worried I had exposed myself to a sexually transmitted disease. The other concern was pregnancy. I was freaked out.”
More than one story
This latest shocking claim comes amid dozens of other sexual assault or rape accusations against Simmons by women who have said he took advantage of them. (Some of these stories were uncovered by investigations from The Los Angeles Times and the New York Times).
Model Keri Claussen Khalighi accused the 60-year old Simmons of assaulting her when she was just 17-years old in 1991. Recently, author and domestic-violence activist Sil Lai Abrams revealed to THR that Simmons allegedly raped her in 1994. She provided details in her 2007 autobiography, No More Drama, but never provided specific names or details. In this era of #MeToo, things have changed.
Screenwriter Jenny Lumet also alleged that Simmons assaulted her in 1991.
The Mummy screenwriter says Simmons raped her at his apartment after a dinner date when she was 24 years old. “You used your size to maneuver me, quickly, into the elevator,” she wrote in a column in The Hollywood Reporter. “You pressed me into the corner with your body, your hands and your mouth.”
After Lumet published her column in THR, Simmons stepped down from his companies and issued the following statement.
“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.”
Simmons denies all
Simmons issued a statement to Variety, denying that he had assaulted Alexia Norton Jones.
“I’m deeply saddened by this story from Alexia,” Simmons said.
“At no time did she share these feelings about her first sexual encounter with me, which took place roughly 28 years ago. I have taken multiple lie detector tests that affirm I never sexually assaulted anyone. Alexia and I dated, were intimate and attended multiple events together after she alleges the incident occurred in 1990. I considered her a friend for all these years and continue to have a warm relationship with members of her family. I believe we last spoke in 2006 when she called to express her disappointment over the fact that I had not attended an event honoring her father.”
Jones filed police report last spring, even though the statute of limitations has passed. But she still wanted to go on record. She says she has forgiven Simmons and admits that she has run into him at events decades after the encounter and “saw a difference in him and the way he acted after he got clean.”
Read more about Jones’ story, from a series of interviews with Variety.