Russell Simmons said he has put his #NotMe campaign on hold because “this is a time for women to speak,” according to Page Six Tuesday.
The 60-year-old Def Jam co-founder was accused in November and December of sexual misconduct by more than a dozen women. Some of the accusations include rape and attempted rape. The alleged incidents occurred between 1988-2014. (RELATED: Russell Simmons Steps Down After Harassment Accusation)
In December, Simmons announced his plans to “defend himself” and prove his innocence.
“Today, I begin to properly defend myself. I will prove without any doubt that I am innocent of all rape charges,” Simmons wrote on Instagram. “Today, I will focus on ‘The Original Sin’ (Keri Claussen), the claim that created this insane pile on of my #MeToo. Stay tuned! We’ll share information today… And tomorrow the case of Jenny Lumet. My intention is not to diminish the #MeToo movement in anyway, but instead hold my accusers accountable. #NotMe Again, this is not a movement against or even in conjunction with #Metoo . It’s just a statement about my innocence.”
Following the rape allegations, he “vehemently” denied them through another statement on his social media account.
“I vehemently deny all these allegations. These horrific accusations have shocked me to my core and all of my relations have been consensual,” Simmons shared. “I am blessed to have shared extraordinary relationships, whether through work or love, with many great women; and I have enormous respect for the women’s movement worldwide and their struggle for respect, dignity, equality and power. I am devastated by any reason I may have given to anyone to say or think of me in the ways that are currently being described.”
“In recent weeks, some former business, creative and romantic partners have aired grievances as claims I categorically reject,” he added. “In some of these instances, financial motives and direct contradictory witness testimony has been supplied to the media, which has been completely left out of stories. In the last few days, one woman attempted to extort me for $5000,000 only to recant her claim. The current allegations sent to me by the New York Times range from patently untrue to the frivolous and hurtful. The presumption of innocent until proven guilty must not be replaced by ‘Guilty by Accusation.'”
“What I will not accept is responsibility for what I have not done,” he continued. “I have conducted my life with a message of peace and love. Although I have been candid about how I have lived in books and interviews detailing my flaws, I will relentlessly fight against any untruthful character assassination that paints me as a man of violence.”
Recently, Simmons stepped away from Def Jam Recordings and a yoga studio in Los Angeles amid the accusations.