Three women told the New York Times that music mogul Russell Simmons raped them, in the latest cascade of serious allegations of sexual misconduct against powerful men in entertainment, media, politics and elsewhere.
Simmons, founder of Def Jam Recordings, vehemently denied what he called “these horrific accusations,” saying in a statement emailed to The Associated Press that “all of my relations have been consensual.”
He took to Instagram on Thursday to say that he will “begin to properly defend” himself after the Times published the story.
“I will prove without any doubt that I am innocent of all rape charges. Today, I will focus on “The Original Sin” (Keri Claussen), the claim that created this insane pile on of my #MeToo,” Simmons wrote under a photo that read #NotMe.
Simmons wrote that his “intention is not to diminish the #MeToo movement in anyway, but instead to hold my accusers accountable. #NotMe Again, this is not a movement against or even in conjunction with #Metoo. It’s just a statement about my innocence.”
The allegations reported by the Times on Wednesday stem from the 1980s and 1990s.
One woman, named Drew Dixon, said Simmons assaulted her in his downtown apartment in 1995, when she was an executive at Def Jam Recordings, reporting to Simmons.
Dixon quit her job at Def Jam soon after the assault. She told the Times, “I was broken.”
Through his lawyer, Simmons acknowledged to the Times that he engaged in “inappropriate conduct” with Dixon while she was working at Def Jam but he “emphatically states that he did not have sex with her.”
A second woman, named Tina Baker, said Simmons raped her in the early ’90s when he was her manager at the time.
“I didn’t sing for almost a year,” Baker said. She also said that after the assault, she “went into oblivion.”
Through his lawyer, Simmons told the Times he had “no recollection of ever having any sexual relations with Ms. Baker.”
A third woman, named Toni Sallie, said she dated Simmons briefly in 1987. Sallie, a music journalist, told the Times that a year later, in 1988, Simmons invited her to his Manhattan apartment for a party.
She said that when she arrived, she was the only person there and Simmons led her to his bedroom, pushed her on the bed and raped her.
“We were fighting. I said ‘No,’” she was quoted as saying.
The Time said that Simmons, through his lawyer, acknowledged that he had dated Sallie but denied non-consensual sex.
In all three cases, the paper said, friends and associates of the accusers said they had been told about the incidents at the time.
The Times quoted a fourth woman, Christina Moore, who accused Simmons of groping her during a brief encounter in Miami in 2014.
“The current allegations sent to me by the New York 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,’” Simmons said in his statement.
Simmons said he would “relentlessly fight against any untruthful character assassination that paints me as a man of violence.”
The allegations brought forth by The Times weren’t the first to hit the producer recently.
WATCH: Latest on sexual assault in Hollywood
Last month, HBO said it would edit out any links to Simmons in its “All Def Comedy” show in the wake of an allegation by screenwriter Jennifer Lumet.
Lumet said Simmons had sex with her more than two decades ago despite her repeated demands that he stop. Simmons said he had a different memory of the night but apologized and said he was stepping away from his companies.
Lumet said she went public after model Keri Claussen Khalighi said Simmons coerced her to perform a sex act and later penetrated her without her consent in his New York apartment in 1991. Simmons said the sex with Khalighi was consensual.
He said everything that occurred between himself and Khalighi was completely consensual and with her “full participation.”
“I’m deeply saddened and truly shocked to learn of Keri’s assertions as to what happened over the course of that weekend,” Simmons said in the statement.
Khalighi said the film producer and director Brett Ratner, who has also been accused by multiple women of sexual harassment, was present.
Khalighi said she asked Ratner, then a music video director and Simmons protege, for help.
“I’ll never forget the look on his face,” she told the Times. “In that moment, the realization fell on me that they were in it together.”
Simmons and Rick Rubin founded Def Jam Recordings in 1984. It made stars of such hip-hop artists as LL Cool J, Slick Rick, The Beastie Boys and Public Enemy, and its roster currently includes Kanye West, Justin Bieber, Frank Ocean, Alessia Cara, Jeremih, Jeezy, Iggy Azalea, Big Sean, Nas and 2 Chainz.
—With files from the Associated Press