Def Jam Recordings founder and hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons Wednesday strongly denied a series of new sexual misconduct claims against him, calling the accusations “horrific” and insisting that all of his encounters with women have been consensual.

The latest accusations were detailed in stories by the New York Times and Los Angeles Times, alleging behavior such as unwanted sexual advances, indecent exposure and lewd comments and conduct. The allegations came on top of a model’s mid-November sexual assault accusation against Simmons, published by the Los Angeles Times.

Simmons has consistently denied any wrongdoing, and he issued a detailed statement following Wednesday’s publication of additional misconduct allegations by both papers.

“I vehemently deny all these allegations,” Simmons said. “These horrific accusations have shocked me to my core and all of my relations have been consensual.

“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 said. “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 $500,000 only to recant her ridiculous claim.”

Simmons said the allegations described in the New York Times “range from the patently untrue to the frivolous and hurtful.”

Simmons announced in late November that he was stepping away from his business empire in the wake of the original allegations. He said Wednesday he has since “re-dedicated myself to spiritual learning, healing and working on behalf of the communities to which I have devoted my life.”

“I have accepted that I can and should get dirt on my sleeves if it means witnessing the birth of a new consciousness about women,” he said. “What I will not accept is responsibility for what I have not done. 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.”

According to the Los Angeles Times, actress Natashia Williams-Blach contends that Simmons tried to force her to perform oral sex after a 1996 yoga class. Erin Beattie, a massage therapist, contended that she was giving Simmons a massage in 2005 and he exposed himself to her and asked her to touch his penis.

Two former employees at Simmons’ West Hollywood yoga studio, Tantris, described a sexually charged atmosphere, and one contended Simmons was taking advantage of his position to pursue women at the studio, The Times reported.

–City News Service

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