Russell Simmons is throwing in the towel.
The hip hop and clothing entrepreneur has dropped a campaign to clear his name of sexual assault and rape accusations made by 13 women.
Following a slew of allegations in November and December, Simmons stepped down from his businesses to devote himself to defending his reputation.
Simmons, known for the hip hop label Def Jam Recordings, the clothing line Phat Farm, and for producing films like 1996’s “The Nutty Professor,” began using the social media hashtag #NotMe to dismiss the allegations against him.
Today, I begin to properly defend myself. I will prove without any doubt that I am innocent of all rape charges. 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.
“Today, I begin to properly defend myself,” Simmons wrote on December 14. He went on to say he would begin his defense with the accusations by model Keri Claussen and screenwriter Jenny Lumet, daughter of legendary director Sidney Lumet.
Clausen accused Simmons of forcing her to have sex with him in front of filmmaker Brett Ratnet when she was just 17. Lumet claimed the mogul raped her in 1991.
December 14 was the last time Simmons made mention of his #NotMe campaign. On that day, he took a lie detector test that his lawyer said he “passed with flying colors,” TMZ reports.
A representative for Simmons told Page Six the weeks of silence was due to a respect for the #MeToo movement, in which women are coming forward to expose sexual assault and harassment.
The rep said the music producer felt it was “a time for women to speak.” He added, “Mr. Simmons’ previous statements stand, and he has nothing to add to [them] at this time.”
In response to the allegations, HBO stated it would be removing Simmons from “All Def Comedy,” a program he created.
“HBO will be airing All Def Comedy as planned,” the network said. “However, Russell Simmons will not appear in the new series and we will be removing his name from the show moving forward.”
Simmons’ career has taken a crushing blow–and it may not get back up.
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