One of the women speaking out about suffering alleged sexual abuse and rape at the hands of Russell Simmons says the media mogul is trying to “drown out” the voices of his accusers ahead of the release of a new documentary about his actions.
“I hope that black women and girls become more visible as a result of this documentary,” Drew Dixon tells CBS “This Morning” on Wednesday. “He is a media mogul. He has millions of followers. I have, like, a thousand … And he is using all of that muscle to try to drown out our voices.”
After Simmons confronted executive producer Oprah Winfrey over her involvement in the project, she has since pulled out of the Time’s Up-supported doc stating there is more work to be done but “I want it to be known that I unequivocally believe and support the women.”
The project is being directed by the makers of the campus sexual assault documentary, “The Hunting Ground”, which featured the Oscar-nominated song “Til It Happens To You” by Lady Gaga.
Along with two other women, Sil Lai Abrams and Alexia Norton Jones, Dixon sat down with CBS News correspondent Michelle Miller ahead of the film’s Sundance premiere, detailing their experiences with Simmons. Each of the women describes Simmons’ actions as rape.
“This is violently tackled and raped – while saying ‘no’ and fighting and crying,” Dixon says of a 1995 encounter. “I literally worked for him. He was ordering me a car, and he told me to come upstairs and pick up a demo. I thought I would be in his apartment for five total minutes. That’s it. And he showed up naked, wearing a condom, and tackled me to his bed, while I screamed and fought and said, ‘No,’ and cried. That’s rape.”
Abrams says she had a casual sexual relationship with Simmons, now 62, in the mid-1990s but, regardless, she alleges he raped her when their relationship was over.
“He’ll say, ‘Yes, we had a sexual relationship,’ but he cannot address the fact that I was too drunk to consent, and that the next day I called him up, screaming. And I attempted suicide. He knew,” she says. “And I told him why, that he had ruined my life, and that I had nothing.”
Jones says she knew Simmons before he was famous and claims he raped her on their first date back in 1991.
“This was a very swift attack, and what was going through my mind more than anything was, ‘Why?’ because I liked Russell. And I, you know, I would’ve just kissed him. I would’ve made out with him. I would’ve – he didn’t have to attack me,” she says of the incident. “He raped me right up against the f***ing wall. Excuse my language. But he – that’s what he did. I had to keep this secret.”
Simmons previously denied any wrongdoing and admitted to being a “playboy,” stating all of his sexual encounters have been “consensual.” He faces no charges because though the women filed police reports, the statute of limitations was up on their attacks.
Abrams, Dixon and Jones say the bombshell allegations against Harvey Weinstein coming to light encouraged them to speak out.
“I’m just relieved to be done enabling him essentially by not telling people what he did,” Dixon explains. Once their stories became public, other women began to speak out and share their unwanted sexual encounters with Simmons which date all the way back to 1983 and as recent as 2016.
“It felt like this portal opened suddenly, where women were being believed, and I wondered if that would apply to black women,” Dixon says, adding there are complications to speaking out against a powerful black man. “Black people have very few heroes to spare. Not many of us get to the level of success of a Russell Simmons, which is why I was so proud of him.”
“It’s a small black world,” Abrams adds. “And because everything is one degree of Russell Simmons, and nobody wants to get in the middle, nobody stands up.”