An 11th woman has come forward with allegations against hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons, and this time there’s a $5 million lawsuit attached.
In a lawsuit obtained by USA TODAY, Jennifer Jarosik, 37, says Simmons preyed upon her and ultimately raped her after agreeing to help finance and produce her documentary.
The Blast first published news of the lawsuit.
“This allegation is absolutely untrue,” said Simmons in a statement sent by his representative, Eric Rose. The mogul called the allegations horrific, saying: “I look forward to having my day in court — where, unlike the court of public opinion, I will have the ability to make use of fair processes that ensure that justice will be done and that the full truth will be known.”
According to the lawsuit, the two met in 2006, with Simmons befriending Jarosik “as they shared a love and passion for meditation, yoga and a vegan diet.”
Ten years later, the suit alleges, she was invited by Simmons to his home in Los Angeles. Upon arrival, he asked her to have sex. She said no.
“Simmons got aggressive,” the suit states, and, in a struggle, ultimately knocked her off his bed. Jarosik “hit her head and then (Simmons) pounced on her while she was still in shock and fear, and proceeded to rape her.”
Jarosik, whose website credits her as a published poet, a children’s book author and a documentary producer, has subsequently suffered “severe and permanent emotional and mental distress and anguish, humiliation, embarrassment, fright, discomfort, anxiety and depression.”
She seeks a jury trial and is asking for $5 million in damages.
The lawsuit repeatedly references the Time’s Up initiative. “It’s time that the hip hop industry face the music and recognize that the deep rooted history of misogyny and discrimination against women in the music industry has to come to an end,” said Jarosik’s lawyer, Perry C. Wander, in a statement.
He added: “It’s not enough to apologize and step away from your business, convert a yoga studio to a nonprofit and still draw a salary and be worth $500 million and do nothing but apologize.”
The lawsuit comes as allegations against Simmons have been snowballing in recent months.
In November, screenwriter Jenny Lumet, daughter of director Sidney Lumet, publicly accused Simmons in a guest column for The Hollywood Reporter, alleging the mogul sexually assaulted her in 1991 when she was 24.
Simmons apologized to Lumet for being “thoughtless and insensitive” and announced he was stepping down from his companies so as not to be “a distraction.”
Two new reports followed in December, from The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times, which both published accounts from women accusing Simmons of sexual misconduct over three decades.
Simmons vehemently denied the accusations and attempted to launch a #NotMe campaign in response, vowing to “relentlessly fight against any untruthful character assassination that paints me as a man of violence.”
Citing disgust at Simmons’ attempt to change the narrative, fashion PR powerhouse Kelly Cutrone went public with her own accusation against Simmons, stating that he had attempted to rape her in 1991. “The #NotMe thing?” she said. “I’m going to do a #YeahYou.”
On Wednesday, Jarosik’s lawyer slammed Simmons for espousing a lifestyle far removed from his alleged wrongdoing.
“Mr. Simmons practices meditation, yoga and is a long time vegan practicing non violence against animals,” said Wander. “So basically he treats animals better than women. The hypocrisy has to stop now.”