Women are Fed up, Russell Simmons Steps Down

As the year, winds down the verse “What’s done in the dark, will come to the light”, proves to be true each day as more men in politics and Hollywood are being accused of sexual assault by multiple women. In the past week, two people who I have watched throughout my childhood have also been accused by more than one woman of sexual assault. Nick Carter, the once teen heartthrob from the Backstreet Boys has now been outed as a rapist. Matt Lauer, NBC’s anchor of The Today Show for over a decade, has now been fired for sexual misconduct in the workplace. Both men acknowledge the allegations, neither confirmed it to be true, but they certainly did not deny it as they both agreed there were elements of truth in the statements.

The list of men being accused is certainly longer than two mentioned, but it hit home when Russell Simmons, CEO of Rush Communications and hip-hop legend, announced he is stepping down from his companies amid sexual assault allegations from two women on two separate occasions. The first woman to come forward, detailed when she was assaulted by him at age seventeen. Simmons forced her to perform oral sex on him while Brett Ratner, Hollywood producer, watched and ignored her cries for help. Recently, actress Jenny Lumet, recounted her horrific encounter through a guest column for the Hollywood Reporter, with explicit details of being raped by Simmons in 1991.

In a separate incident, Terry Crews recently came forward about being sexually assaulted by talent agent, Adam Venit. What does this have to do with Russell Simmons, one may ask? Well, after Crews came forward Simmons emailed him asking him to please give his accuser a “pass”….Crews then screenshot the message to Twitter, further exposing Simmons’ character. Other entertainers have been quoted as saying, these allegations against Simmons “are the first of many to come.”

Initially, Simmons denied the allegations, stating, “abusing women in any way shape or form violates the very core of my being.”  He talks a good game, but actions speak louder than words and his stepping down from all of his business ventures says otherwise. HBO agrees as they have severed ties with Simmons after a long-standing relationship due to, “All Def Comedy Jam”. The company will edit any mention of  Simmons from all shows moving forward. 

I’d be lying if I said, the news of Simmons’ allegations, didn’t hurt. You know, that feeling of finding out Santa isn’t real? Yeah, it kind of feels a lot like that. From begging my mom for Phat Farm shoes, Baby Phat outfits, watching his witty remarks on his family’s shows like Run’s House and Kimora: Life in the Fab Lane, understanding at an early age everything he’s done for hip-hop, the culture, and the community….this hurts.

Whenever men in power are accused of sexual misconduct, there are those who run to their defense in saying, “None of that takes away from all the good they’ve done”. Technically speaking, I guess you’re right. Ethically speaking, they’re canceled…and so are you for defending their trash antics. My heart aligns with the accusers because….#Metoo. My heart also, breaks for Simmons’ daughters. I wonder if men think of the women in their lives, their mothers, their daughters, spouses when committing such lewd acts. That’s my first thought of many. The second, of course, is why? There are “professional” answers of “power” and “control”, but deductive reasoning changes nothing nor does it give any resolution. There will always be more unresolved questions than answers when it comes to both sides of sexual assault.

As the year, winds down I’m sure more “accusers ”(…I don’t like that word. I don’t like “victims”, either).

I’m sure more survivors will come forward to expose men and hold them accountable for their disrespect and sexual misconduct. I am so here for it and inspired as women begin to take pieces of themselves back… one by one. I applaud the bravery and thank them all for getting a much-needed conversation started.

Women. are. fed. up.

I’ll leave you with this quote I read recently: “The reckoning is upon us; no one is being spared”. Men remember this, the next time you’re about to say, send, or do anything that’s going to make a woman feel violated. Remember #MeToo, the movement that’s being started for women to openly speak up about the sexual assault and harassment they’ve endured. Remember, these men in power are not being spared….and neither will you.

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