Simmons says he will 'defend' himself following rape claims


Music and film producer Russell Simmons faced new accusations of sexual misconduct from nine woman in incidents dating back to 1983, including four who alleged that he raped them, according to separate reports in two USA newspapers. Christina Moore, who met Simmons at Art Basel in 2014, says the mogul sexually assaulted her after inviting her and a friend to his room.

The allegations reported by the Times today stem from the 1980s and 1990s and mark the latest in a cascade of serious allegations of sexual misconduct against powerful men in entertainment, media, politics and elsewhere.

When contacted about Cutrone's allegations, Simmons' rep referred ABC News to his initial statement, in which Simmons "vehemently" denies all allegations.

About a year later, at a South Florida music conference, she encountered Simmons in the lobby of a local hotel and he attempted to lead her to a "dark beach", she told The Times. "He couldn't believe I would say no".

But he "emphatically states that he did not have sex with her", his lawyer said.

The Times said it confirmed the allegations through friends and associates of the women at the time the incidents occurred.

Cutrone told ABC News in a statement, "I came forward as a result of Russell Simmons' #NotMe, as I felt it was a license to continue to perpetuate violence against women".

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"These horrific accusations have shocked me to my core and all of my relations have been consensual", Simmons said in the statement.

The women said they made a decision to come forward and tell their stories after dozens of victims publicly detailed alleged sexual abuse they suffered at the hands of disgraced filmmaker Harvey Weinstein.

The allegations of rape reported by the New York Times were between 1988 and 1995 from a music journalist, a singer he managed and a former executive producer at Def Jam Records.

Sherri Hines claims Russell Simmons raped her in his office in 1983. "I will prove without any doubt that I am innocent of all rape charges". I have separated myself from my businesses and charities in order to not become a distraction. "I have conducted my life with a message of peace and love".

Since November, at least 11 women altogether, including screenwriter Jenny Lumet, actress Natashia Williams-Blach and fashion publicist Kelly Cutrone, have accused Simmons of sexual misconduct.

Simmons said he had a different memory of the night but apologised and said he was stepping away from his companies. Numerous alleged victims have now left the music industry - either as artists or executives - due largely to their negative experiences with Simmons, they said. Not long afterward, Lumet wrote a column in The Hollywood Reporter, saying Simmons had sex with her without consent.