Hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons says he is stepping down from his companies after several women accused him of sexual misconduct.
“This is a time of great transition,” he said in a statement Thursday, according to NBC News.
“The voices of the voiceless, those who have been hurt or shamed, deserve and need to be heard,” Simmons continued.
“As the corridors of power inevitably make way for a new generation, I don’t want to be a distraction so I am removing myself from businesses that I founded.”
Simmons also responded to writer Jenny Lumet’s guest column for The Hollywood Reporter on Thursday accusing him of forcing her into sexual intercourse in 1991.
“I have been informed with great anguish of Jenny Lumet’s recollection about our night together in 1991,” he said.
“While her memory of that evening is very different from mine, it is now clear to me that her feelings of fear and intimidation are real,” the Def Jam Records co-founder added.
“While I have never been violent, I have been thoughtless and insensitive in some of my relationships over the decades and I sincerely and humbly apologize.”
Jenny Lumet is the daughter of filmmaker Sidney Lumet, and she is also the screenwriter of such movies as “The Mummy.”
The screenwriter accused Simmons of intimidating her into sex during an encounter between them in 1991.
“I desperately wanted to keep the situation from escalating,” she said. “I wanted you to feel that I was not going to be difficult. I wanted to stay as contained as I could.”
Former model Keri Claussen Khalighi earlier this month accused Simmons of sexually assaulting her in 1991 while Hollywood producer Brett Ratner watched.
Multiple women – including actresses Olivia Munn and Natasha Henstridge – earlier this month accused Ratner of sexual harassment and misconduct.
Women worldwide are sharing their experiences with sexual assault and misconduct as part of the #MeToo campaign on social media addressing the issue.