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Hip hop mogul, Russell Simmons sued for alleged rape and sexual assault by former Def Jam music executive

Russell Simmons

Hip-hop mogul, Russell Simmons has been sued by a former Def Jam video producer over claims of rape and sexual assault that took place in the 1990s.

In a new lawsuit filed in New York Federal Court on Tuesday, the woman, identified as Jane Doe, previously “worked as a senior level music executive at Def Jam Recordings.”

According to the complaint, Doe, who was a music video producer who often worked on videos for Simmons’ label Def Jam Recordings — alleges that her career was “disrupted and derailed by a devastating experience” because of him.

Under New York’s Adult Survivors Act and Gender Motivated Violence Act, Doe is suing Simmons, 66, for sexual battery/assault, intentional infliction of emotional distress and false imprisonment.

While Doe claims that she and the record label executive initially had a professional relationship and he “was not flirtatious with her at all,” she said that it was common to bring music videos to Simmons’ New York City apartment, which she did “with no incident.”

However, the plaintiff alleges that “Simmons suddenly began to turn his rapacious attention toward Ms. Doe,” which reportedly included “invading her personal space while making sexual innuendos, suggestions, and advances, and rubbing the front of his pants.”

The assault in question happened when “Ms. Doe brought to Mr. Simmons’s apartment a rough cut of a video she needed him to view for approval.”

Simmons allegedly “aggressively and relentlessly flirted with Ms. Doe, made sexual innuendos and advances, asked sexually explicit questions, including personal questions about her sexual preferences and questioning if she was currently wearing a bra.”

Doe claims that Simmons invited her to his bedroom to watch a rough cut of the music video and propositioned her to have sex with him. While the plaintiff “rejected” his advances, she claims “Mr. Simmons performed a ‘wrestling move,’ climbing on top of Ms. Doe and pinning her arms down on the bed.”

He allegedly continued asking her to have sex, and she kept rejecting him. “Simmons ignored Ms. Doe’s resistance and proceeded to rape her,” the lawsuit reads.

After the alleged incident, she “quit Def Jam in 1997 and worked as an executive producer for film and commercial production companies.” Ms Doe claims she “struggled in her relationships with employers” and “became overwhelmed with anxiety.” She also relocated from New York to California. “After the assault, she became a completely different person,” the complaint states.

In a statement provided to PEOPLE, Doe’s attorney Kenya K. Davis said: “As detailed in the complaint, our client was sexually assaulted and harassed by her boss, Russell Simmons, while pursuing her professional ambitions as an executive at Def Jam. She was proud of her contributions to the burgeoning musical genre of hip hop, but her hard work and her career in music were disrupted and derailed by Mr Simmons, a rich and powerful celebrity whose wealth and influence allowed his abusive behaviour to go unchallenged for decades.

“Now a successful writer and producer in the entertainment industry, Jane Doe’s traumatic experiences with Simmons echo those of so many other women whom he has preyed upon for decades.”

Russell Simmons has been named the perpetrator in other sexual assault-related lawsuits in recent years. Since 2017’s allegations, multiple women have come forward recounting similar experiences with the Def Jam Records co-founder. He has maintained his innocence and claims to have passed “nine lie detector tests.”

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