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Russell Simmons stepping down from his companies after sex assault allegations

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Russell Simmons, pictured in this 2017 photo at the Art For Life benefit in New York, has stepped down from his businesses after accusations of sexual assault. (Source: Scott Roth/Innvision/AP) Russell Simmons, pictured in this 2017 photo at the Art For Life benefit in New York, has stepped down from his businesses after accusations of sexual assault. (Source: Scott Roth/Innvision/AP)

(RNN) - Russell Simmons, the creator of Def Jam, is stepping down from his companies in the wake of two sexual assault accusations, Variety wrote.

Simmons said he did not want to be a distraction for his companies and added they will be run by a “new and diverse generation” of executives "who will move the culture and the consciousness forward."

“As for me, I will step aside and commit myself to my personal growth, spiritual healing, and above all, to listening,” he wrote.

Writer Jenny Lumet accused Simmons of forcing her to have sex with him in 1991 in a guest column in the Hollywood Reporter written in the form of a letter. She said Simmons gave her a ride home from a restaurant and began forcing himself on her in the car, then, with the help of the driver, took her to her apartment and forced her to have sex with him.

Lumet is the daughter of director Sidney Lumet and wrote the screenplay for the 2008 film "Rachel Getting Married.”

Simmons later apologized to her, but said he did not recall the incident as she did.

“While I have never been violent, I have been thoughtless and insensitive in some of my relationships over many decades and I sincerely and humbly apologize,” he said.

He was also accused of a 1991 sexual assault by model Keri Claussen Khalighi, who was 17 at the time. Simmons denied that in an article in the Los Angeles Times.

Copyright 2017 Raycom News Network. All rights reserved.

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