Russell Simmons said he “vehemently” denies the three rape allegations raised against in a Wednesday piece from The New York Times.
“I vehemently deny all these allegations. These horrific accusations have shocked me to my core and all of my relations have been consensual,” the 60-year-old music mogul said in a statement Wednesday posted on Instagram. (RELATED: Russell Simmons Steps Down After Harassment Accusation)
“I am blessed to have shared extraordinary relationships, whether through work or love, with many great women; and I have enormous respect for the women’s movement worldwide and their struggle for respect, dignity, equality and power,” he added. “I am devastated by any reason I may have given to anyone to say or think of me in the ways that are currently being described.”
“In recent weeks, some former business, creative and romantic partners have aired grievances as claims I categorically reject,” he continued. “In some of these instances, financial motives and direct contradictory witness testimony has been supplied to the media, which has been completely left out of stories. In the last few days, one woman attempted to extort me for $5000,000 only to recant her claim. The current allegations sent to me by the New York Times range from patently untrue to the frivolous and hurtful. The presumption of innocent until proven guilty must not be replaced by ‘Guilty by Accusation.'”
“I have already apologized for the instances of thoughtlessness in my consensual relations,” Simmons wrote. “I have separated myself from my businesses and charities in order to not become a distraction. I have re-dedicated myself to spiritual learning, healing and working on behalf of the communities to which I have devoted to my life. I have accepted that I can and should get dirt on my sleeves if it means witnessing the birth of a new consciousness about women.”
“What I will not accept is responsibility for what I have not done,” he added. “I have conducted my life with a message of peace and love. Although I have been candid about how I have lived in books and interviews detailing my flaws, I will relentlessly fight against any untruthful character assassination that paints me as a man of violence.”
The statement comes following the piece from The New York Times piece that included accusations from four women who accused Simmons of sexual misconduct. The alleged incidents occurred between 1988 and 2014.
Recently, Simmons stepped away from Def Jam Recordings and a yoga studio in Los Angeles amid a series of sexual misconduct accusations.