The NYPD has launched an investigation into Russell Simmons after nine women came forward alleging rape and sexual misconduct.
“The NYPD has received information regarding allegations involving Russell Simmons in the NYC area and our detectives are in the process of reviewing that information,” Sgt. Brendan Ryan said in an emailed statement Thursday.
At least seven of the accusations of sexual misconduct allegedly took place in New York City, according to a Los Angeles Times report, which said that the NYPD has begun to reach out to women who have claimed that Simmons assaulted them in the city.
The investigation was launched one day after the women – four of which claimed they were raped by Simmons – came forward in articles published by The New York Times and Los Angeles Times.
Simmons, who said in November he was stepping down from his production and fashion businesses after he was accused of sexually assaulting a screenwriter in 1991, has denied the claims.
“These horrific accusations have shocked me to my core and all of my relations have been consensual,” Simmons said in the statement.
The current allegations, the statement added, “range from the patently untrue to the frivolous and hurtful. The presumption of innocent until proven guilty must not be replaced by ‘Guilty by Accusation.’ “
In The New York Times report, three women alleged Simmons raped them between 1988 and 1995, including Drew Dixon, an executive at Def Jam Recordings at the time; Tina Baker, a performer pursuing a singing career; and Toni Sallie, a music journalist for the magazine Black Radio Exclusive.
Another woman, Sherri Hines, alleged Simmons raped her in his office in 1983, the Los Angeles Times reported. Four other women also accused the music and film producer of sexual misconduct.
Simmons is one of the most influential entrepreneurs in the hip-hop industry. He is the co-founder of Def Jam Records and the founder of fashion lines Phat Farm and Tantris. He also coproduced films and TV shows, including “The Nutty Professor” and “Def Comedy Jam.”
In an Instagram post on Thursday, Simmons used the hashtag #NotMe, in contrast with the #MeToo hashtag used by millions of women on social media to share their stories of sexual abuse.
“Today, I begin to properly defend myself,” Simmons wrote. “My intention is not to diminish the #MeToo movement in anyway, but instead hold my accusers accountable. #NotMe.”
In his statement responding to the accusations, Simmons said he had already apologized for “instances of thoughtlessness” in his consensual relationships.
“What I will not accept is responsibility for what I have not done,” the statement said. “I will relentlessly fight against any untruthful character assassination that paints me as a man of violence.”