Def Jam co-founder Russell Simmons has being sued for $5 million by an aspiring filmmaker who claims the music mogul raped her.
According to Jennifer Jarosik, Russell Simmons invited her to his house on the pretext they would discuss a documentary project only for her to be attacked.
In documents filed Wednesday (Jan. 24) with the United States District Court for the Central District of California, Jennifer Jarosik states that she befriended Simmons in New York city in 2006 over their shared “love and passion for meditation, yoga and a vegan diet” and trusted him due to his “reputation as a spiritually conscious person” and his promise to help her make her film.
When Jarosik was invited to Russell Simmons Los Angeles house in 2016, she says, he asked to have sex to which she replied “no.”
Simmons then allegedly got aggressive and pushed Jarosik onto his bed, causing her to hit her head as she tried to force him off of her. She claims Simmons then “pounced on her while she was still in shock and fear, and proceeded to rape her.
“When she refused, she said he became aggressive, pushed her onto his bed, knocked her off the bed, hit her in the head, and raped her.
Jarosik says she told only a few close friends about the incident and felt it was “partially her fault since she was not strong enough to resist.”
But upon seeing multiple other women accuse Simmons of sexual harassment and rape, she contacted him — to which, according to the suit, he replied pretending it never happened.
At the end of 2017, Def Jam co-founder Russell Simmons faced sexual assault and rape allegations from multiple women, which prompted an NYPD investigation.
Simmons was accused of rape by four other women, as well as several other instances of sexual misconduct.
The lawsuit ends several pages with #TimesUp in bold, noting the movement against sexual harassment that was started on Jan. 1. It also makes claims about Simmons’ alleged predatory history.
“Defendant Russell Simmons has historically thrived on the sexual exploitation of young women trying to break into the entertainment and music industry, in which young female artists are falsely promised opportunities and advancement by experienced and well-established men in power in the industry, with their careers in jeopardy if they resist the sexual overtures of these powerful men,” it states.
Jarosik’s attorney Perry C. Wander said in a statement that his client’s case against Simmons taps into systemic problems with the hip-hop music industry.
“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. #TimesUp,” he said in a statement.
“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.
As James Franco said, ‘if I need to make restitution I’ll do that.'”
“Mr. Simmons practices meditation, yoga and is a long time vegan practicing non violence against animals. So basically he treats animals better than women. The hypocrisy has to stop now.”
Jarosik says the assault left her “sick, sore, lame, disabled and disordered, both internally and externally” and that she suffered from “extreme emotional distress.”
She’s reportedly seeking $5 million in punitive damages and unspecified actual damages.
Russell Simmons has denied all allegations of sexual misconduct that have been made against him.
Simmons responded in a statement:
This allegation is absolutely untrue. 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.
In the meantime, please understand that I will not litigate this matter in the media. I am confident that when all is said and all is done, it will be as clear to others as it is to me that I did not do what this lawsuit accuses me of doing.
In November, Simmons was accused of sexual assault by Keri Claussen Khalighi, who was a minor when the incident occurred, and writer Jenny Lumet.
He denied those allegations and later stepped down from his companies.
In December, The New York Times and Los Angeles Times published new reports with stories from several women who detailed further allegations of Simmons’ sexual misconduct.
Four of those women claimed that he raped them. Simmons denied all allegations leveled at him, writing that he was “innocent of all rape charges.”