By Ryan Velez
Accusations and misconduct come with heavy consequences, as mogul Russell Simmons is finding out. While normally praised for his business acumen, Black Enterprise reports that the wave of s*xual assault allegations has cost Simmons valuable partnerships with HBO and J.C. Penney.
On Thursday, J.C. Penny released a statement saying that they were going to discontinue selling Simmons’ ArgyleCulture merchandise, reports Bloomberg. The chain had brought Simmons’ line of menswear on in the fall of 2016 in a bid to draw in more customers. The collection of sweaters, polo's, and blazers were being sold on JCPenney’s website and at about 80 of the chain’s 875 stores. HBO still plans to air All Def Comedy, the continuation of the stand-up series Def Comedy Jam. Simmons was one of the main figures behind the platform, which features some of the great Black comedians of our time when they were starting out. Now, though, his name has been dropped.
“Simmons will not appear in the new series and we will be removing his name from the show moving forward,” read a statement by HBO, reports Detroit News.” ‘‘We have no other projects with Russell Simmons.”
This follows Simmons stepping down from his companies following several accusations. Last month, model Keri Claussen Khalighi accused him of raping her when she was 17 in 1991. When he denied this, days afterward, screenwriter Jenny Lumet wrote a column, detailing a night where she was s*xually assaulted by Simmons as well.
“I have been informed with great anguish of Jenny Lumet’s recollection about our night together in 1991,” Simmons said in a statement. “I know Jenny and her family and have seen her several times over the years since the evening she described. While her memory of that evening is very different from mine, it is now clear to me that her feelings of fear and intimidation are real. While I have never been violent, I have been thoughtless and insensitive in some of my relationships over many decades and I sincerely and humbly apologize.” He added, the businesses that he founded “will now be run by a new and diverse generation of extraordinary executives who are moving the culture and consciousness forward.”
An inglorious end to his business career, but if these accusations hold true, Simmons has no one but himself to blame.