May 22, 2018 / 9:50 AM

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Aspiring Filmmaker Accuses Russell Simmons Of Rape, Launches $5 Million Lawsuit



Another top executive is facing a serious rape allegation. A woman is set to file a lawsuit against Def Jam Recordings cofounder Russell Simmons, claiming he raped her at his home in 2016.

According to plaintiff Jennifer Jarosik, she and Simmons had known each other since 2006, sharing common interests like yoga and meditation. He even offered to finance and co-produce a documentary the filmmaker was working on.

As The Blast reports, the defendant says Simmons invited her to his Los Angeles home. Upon arrival, he asked her to have sex, but Jarosik rebuffed his advances. When she did, Simmons became aggressive and shoved her onto his bed. Jarosik hit her head and, while still in shock and fear, was raped by Simmons, according to the lawsuit.

The latest allegation against Simmons isn't his first. He stepped down from his business last year after reports of his sexual misconduct began surfacing. Many women have accused him of rape or sexual harassment, though he has denied all such claims. On Wednesday, Jan. 24, Simmons' spokesman issued a statement denying Jarosik's lawsuit, with the music mogul claiming the allegation is "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."

Jarosik, a published poet, children's book author, and a documentary producer, has subsequently suffered "severe and permanent emotional and mental distress and anguish, humiliation, embarrassment, fright, discomfort, anxiety and depression." After she was raped, she confided in only a few close friends and even partially blamed herself for failing to fight off Simmons.

Jarosik is seeking $5 million in damages.

The lawsuit makes several references to the Time's Up movement, a campaign that seeks to support survivors of sexual assault, rape, and other forms of sexism — and prevent them from ever happening again.

"It's time that the hip hop industry face the music and recognize that the deep rooted history of misogyny and discrimination against women in the music industry has to come to an end," said Perry C. Wander, the defendant's lawyer.

In his statement, Simmons said he bears respect for the women's movement globally, and their quest to acquire "respect, dignity, equality, and power." He also addressed the several other allegations against him, which he "categorically reject[s]." Some reports leave out important information, he claims, such as financial motives and contradictory witness testimonies.

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