Embattled music mogul Russell Simmons has denied new sexual assault allegations against him, insisting he is disappointed by the claims.
The Def Jam Recordings co-founder has found himself under attack in recent months after facing accusations of past inappropriate behaviour from a string of women - all of which he has vehemently denied, insisting all intimacy was consensual.
On Thursday (28Jun18), editors at The Hollywood Reporter published a story, in which writer and activist Sil Lai Abrams claimed Simmons raped her at his home in 1994, while she was intoxicated.
By Abrams' account, she never imagined that Simmons presented a threat or that he might force himself on a woman," the story reads. "But as she drifted in and out of awareness, she says, she opened her eyes and saw him approaching, naked except for a condom.
"As she realized his intention, she says, she repeatedly said no. But she says he flipped her onto her stomach, pulled down the bike shorts she was wearing beneath her dress and raped her. As soon as it was over, she says, he told her to leave right away as he was expecting a call from a woman he was pursuing."
Simmons has denied the allegations in the article and he is now blasting the editors at the publication for running the story after bosses at NBC News refused to run with it. Abrams was reportedly working with MSNBC news host Joy Reid on the big reveal, but she opted to give the exclusive to The Hollywood Reporter when it appeared TV bosses were stalling.
"The Hollywood Reporter published an article despite material facts and witness statements shared with them that contradict Ms. Abrams' account, all of which were omitted from the story," a statement from Simmons' lawyer Angela Pruitt to TheWrap reads. "These documents include a declaration, sworn under oath, by someone who spoke with Ms. Abrams the day after her sexual encounter with Mr. Simmons and described it as consensual.
"NBC said its news department had enlisted seasoned investigative journalists to assist Reid and that certain aspects of the story did not meet its standards. It's disappointing, to say the least, that THR didn't adhere to the same standards."
A spokesperson for the network has verified they decided to not move forward with the story.
"When MSNBC pursues any investigative story our mission is always to be as thorough as we can, to scrutinize sources and corroborate information before we report," a statement from the news network adds. "Anything else falls short of our journalistic standards."