Def Jam Recordings co-founder Russell Simmons announced Thursday that he would relinquish his leadership roles in "all the companies I founded," after a second woman accused him of sexual assault.
Following the publication of a letter by writer Jenny Lumet in The Hollywood Reporter, Simmons issued a statement that he would be "removing" himself from his companies. In his statement, Simmons acknowledges Lumet's allegation but only admits to being "thoughtless and insensitive in some of my relationships over many decades."
In her letter, Lumet — who is a story writer on the Tom Cruise film The Mummy, which was released this year, and the daughter of director Sidney Lumet — writes that Simmons had expressed romantic interest in her prior to the night of the alleged assault, sending her 250 balloons. Some time after, she says, Simmons offered her a ride home after a dinner but then directed his driver to take them to Simmons' home, despite her repeated requests to be driven to her home.
"I felt dread and disorientation," she writes, "I wanted to go home. I said I wanted to go home. I didn't recognize the man next to me. I didn't know if the situation would turn violent. I remember thinking that I must be crazy; I remember hoping that the Russell I knew would return any moment."
"Alone in the elevator" to Simmons' apartment, Lumet continues, "you pressed me into the corner with your body, your hands and your mouth." She then describes making "the trade in my mind" and acquiescing to sex with Simmons, fearing for her safety if she refused.