A documentary filmmaker has come forward alleging that Russell Simmons, after agreeing to finance and co-produce her film on women’s empowerment, raped her.
Jennifer Jarosik filed a lawsuit against the hip-hop mogul Wednesday. She’s seeking $5 million in damages from Simmons—a number her lawyer estimates is about 1 percent of Simmons’ net worth, according to the New York Daily News.
In the court filing, Jarosik says that she met Simmons in 2006 in New York, at which point he agreed to get involved with her film. Over the years, Jarosik says, she and Simmons bonded over their shared “love and passion for meditation, yoga and a vegan diet.”
But the relationship turned in August 2016, after Jarosik says Simmons invited her over to his Los Angeles home, where he asked her to have sex.
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Jarosik alleges that after she said no, Simmons “got aggressive,” pushing her onto his bed and then, in an ensuing struggle, pushing her back off it, causing her to hit her head. Jarosik says in her suit that while she was stunned and “in shock” from the blow, Simmons “proceeded to rape her.”
Simmons, through his representative Eric Rose, denies the allegations. According to USA Today, Simmons called the allegations horrific and “absolutely untrue.”
“I look forward to having my day in court—where, unlike the court of public opinion, I will have the ability to make use of fair processes that ensure that justice will be done and that the full truth will be known,” Simmons said.
Jarosik’s claim is but one in a torrent of allegations of sexual abuse against the 60-year-old multimillionaire. As TMZ reports, more than a dozen women have now accused the hip-hop mogul of rape, and as of earlier this month, seven accusers have filed police reports with the New York City Police Department against Simmons. In fact, two of those accusers filed rape reports on the same day Simmons decided to cease his #NotMe campaign—his social media clapback to #MeToo.
There is no statute of limitations on sexual assault charges in New York. California, until recently, placed a 10-year limit on pursuing charges for sexual assault crimes. But—largely because of Bill Cosby’s case of alleged serial sexual abuse—a bill passed in the state legislature last year that lifted that limit.
Jarosik repeatedly referred to the Time’s Up initiative in her suit, saying that the time had come to call out the hip-hop industry for its rampant misogyny, and for Simmons to be held accountable.
In a statement to the Daily News, Jarosik’s attorney, Perry Wander, put it more succinctly.
“Mr. Simmons practices meditation, yoga and is a long time vegan practicing non-violence against animals,” Wander said. “So basically he treats animals better than women. The hypocrisy has to stop now.”