The list of women accusing music mogul Russell Simmons of sexual misconduct is still growing. Recently Real Housewives of New York star Luann de Lesseps added her voice to that list, accusing the 60-year-old of groping her several summers ago at a hotel.
In an extended interview about her life with the Daily Beast, de Lesseps revealed that she, too, has had to endure inappropriate behavior by men “throughout my life,” including, she said, at the hands of Simmons.
“He grabbed my ass in an elevator; he was just a pig,” de Lesseps said of Simmons. “I haven’t told anybody about that before. I was grossed out. I was like, ‘How dare you?’ He invaded me, he took advantage of me, being who he is, thinking he is all ‘it,’ all everything. He thought he could just do that. I looked at him and said, ‘Don’t ever do that again.’”
De Lesseps said the incident occurred “around three summers ago, at Soho Beach House [in] Miami.”
The 52-year-old reality star said that she didn’t report the incident when it happened; nor did Simmons ever apologize for his behavior.
More than a dozen women have accused Simmons of rape, sexual harassment and/or sexual misconduct. Most recently, a woman who accused the businessman of rape filed a $10 million lawsuit against him.
For his part, Simmons seems to be singing the same old tune, saying that he was “devastated” by the accusations while at the same time “vehemently denying” them.
“They have shocked me to my core as I have never been abusive or violent in any way in my relations with women. 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,” he said in a statement reissued to the Daily Beast. “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.
“What I cannot accept is responsibility for what I have not done,” Simmons continued in the statement. “The current allegations range from the patently untrue to the frivolous and hurtful. I have submitted myself to multiple lie detector tests. I denied forced sex and sexual harassment allegations brought against me in each test; I also answered no to the question, ‘Have you ever physically forced any woman to have sexual intercourse?’ I passed all of the lie detector tests.”