A new startling sexual assault allegation against hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons has emerged after a model accused the producer of rape weeks ago.
Jenny Lumet, the granddaughter of iconic singer Lena Horne and daughter of famous screenwriter, Sidney Lumet, penned an op-ed for The Hollywood Reporter, detailing a horrifying encounter where she was raped by Simmons.
Lumet, known for penning the critically acclaimed movies, Rachel Getting Married and The Mummy, recalls one night in 1991 when she was 24-years-old, running into Simmons at one of her favorite restaurants. The two had previously met on several occasions and ran in the same circles. Lumet first met Simmons through Rick Rubin, Simmons’ former partner and co-founder of Def Jam Records. She began a cordial relationship with Simmons after appearing in a movie with Run DMC, which Simmons produced.
“You pursued me, lightly, on and off, over a course of years, saying you had a thing for a “little yellow girl” (me). I rebuffed. It wasn’t deep, as far as I knew. It was never a big deal. You had, I assumed, many women in your orbit,” Lumet writes.
Lumet says that near the end of the evening she accepted a ride home from Simmons. But Lumet was quickly alarmed after Simmons ordered the driver to his house instead of his apartment. She describes her feeling of utter terror as she was escorted into Simmons’ building. Imposed between Simmons and his driver, she chose to stay silent that evening due to her fear.
“I was between the two of you. Not wedged, just in the space between you. I remember exchanging a look with the driver. He was unreadable. It was chilly out. It was me and these two men,” Lumet continues.
She claims Simmons touched her during the elevator ride with his hands and mouth. Once inside his apartment, she was ushered into his bedroom and raped.
“You moved me into a bedroom. I said, ‘Wait.’ You said nothing. I made the trade in my mind. I thought, ‘Just keep him calm, and you’ll get home.’ Maybe another person would have thought differently, or not made the trade. It was dark but not pitch-dark. You closed the door. At that point, I simply did what I was told.There was penetration. At one point you were only semi-erect and appeared frustrated. Angry? I remember being afraid that you would deem that my fault and become violent. I did not know if you were angry, but I was afraid that you were.”
After it was over, Lumet says she took a taxi home and never spoke of what happened to her publicly until October 27. Over the years, she encountered Simmons at different events, but never brought up their encounter. She writes about grappling with her truth, as women who experience sexual assault are faced with their trauma when recalling the encounter.
“There is so much guilt, and so much shame. There is an excruciating internal reckoning. As a woman of color, I cannot express how wrenching it is to write this about a successful man of color. Again, shame about who I was years ago, choices made years ago. In this very moment, I feel a pang to protect your daughters. I don’t think you are inclined to protect mine,” she said.
Hopefully Lumet’s story will help chart the course of a new discussion regarding consent. Lumet’s story will lead the way for new voices to come forward in an effort to steer us toward an enlightened understanding and to give victims of sexual assault the space they need to rid themselves of the burden of shame.
Read Lumet’s story here.
SOURCE: The Hollywood Reporter