Russell Simmons has been accused of sexual assault by numerous women over the past few months, and has continually denied all charges. However, a new accuser has come forward to allege the Def Jam impresario raped her nearly three decades ago.
Telling her story to Variety, Alexia Norton Jones (who is the granddaughter of late book publisher W.W. Norton) alleges that Simmons assaulted her after the end of what she recalled as a pleasant date, ending up in his apartment.
“It began with us kissing,” Jones tells Variety. “There was something about kissing him, his heart was racing. It seemed out of pace, like he wasn’t relaxed. My mind went to, ‘Is he on something?’ I also thought, ‘How could I be such an idiot?’ Here I am, I’m trusting him. I had been a survivor of sexual abuse as a young teenager.”
Jones continues: “I didn’t want to go further. It was such a fast attack. It was literally an attack. Because he was overweight, I remember thinking it was like being attacked by a flabby walrus. I remember being pushed up against a wall. He pulled my dress up. I must have said no seven to 10 times, and then I acquiesced. It was very fast. I would say it happened in less than 10 minutes.”
What she found confusing, she explains, is that she would have willingly been intimate with Simmons had he not attacked her first. “This is what baffled me. I had willingly gone there. I went there and I would have been intimate with him. Why he did he have to take from me what wasn’t his?” she adds.
Other than confiding in her therapist, Jones admits she didn’t share what happened with anyone at the time. “There was nobody to tell, because we had the same friends… This was my concern, to be honest with you: he didn’t use a condom. I was worried I had exposed myself to a sexually transmitted disease. The other concern was pregnancy. I was freaked out,” she shares.
The obvious question is why Jones kept silent about the alleged rape for 28 years, and she offers this response: “I would have kept quiet forever. What made me come forward [were] his denials of violence toward other women. I don’t want any money from Russell. I’m not suing him. If you look at the women he allegedly assaulted, many of us have a similar look. It’s uncanny. Russell knew that the African-American community was behind him. There are so few black men who make it, we wanted him to succeed. Yet there was also this huge betrayal. He counted on this silence.”
Simmons, however, denies Jones’ allegations. “I’m deeply saddened by this story from Alexia,” he said in a statement to Variety.
“At no time did she share these feelings about her first sexual encounter with me, which took place roughly 28 years ago. I have taken multiple lie detector tests that affirm I never sexually assaulted anyone,” Simmons’ statement continued. “Alexia and I dated, were intimate and attended multiple events together after she alleges the incident occurred in 1990. I considered her a friend for all these years and continue to have a warm relationship with members of her family. I believe we last spoke in 2006 when she called to express her disappointment over the fact that I had not attended an event honouring her father.”
A rep for Simmons also provided a written statement by his driver, Kenneth L. Jennings, who has worked for him since 1989. “I recall driving Mr. Simmons and Alexia Jones on about 10 to 12 dates in or about 1990,” the statement read. “Their relationship lasted approximately five months.”