By Rachel DeSantis
New York Daily News
Alexia Norton Jones, the granddaughter of publisher W.W. Norton, accused Russell Simmons of rape Tuesday, bringing the total number of allegations against the Def Jam co-founder to 18 in the months since the #MeToo movement has taken hold.
Jones told Variety that after going on a date with Simmons in 1990, he invited her back to his downtown Manhattan apartment.
Jones, who was 31 at the time, said the two began kissing, and she quickly noticed his heart was racing — but before she had time to think, Simmons had allegedly pinned her to a wall and raped her.
“I didn’t want to go further. It was such a fast attack. It was literally an attack. Because he was overweight, I remember thinking it was like being attacked by a flabby walrus,” she told the outlet. “I remember being pushed up against a wall. He pulled my dress up. I must have said no seven to 10 times, and then I acquiesced. It was very fast. I would say it happened in less than 10 minutes.”
The two ran in the same circles, Jones said, so she kept her mouth shut for some time, confiding only in a therapist.
“I became very depressed. It eroded my self-esteem. This is the worst message that it sends, that somebody could in a different circumstance like you but think you are worthless… It’s like the murder of the soul,” she said.
Though she eventually forgave Simmons, Jones said that last spring she chose to file a police report with the NYPD knowing it would be outside the statute of limitations as a way of standing in solidarity with the more than a dozen other women who have accused the music mogul of similar behavior.
“I would have kept quiet forever. What made me come forward is his denials of violence toward other women,” she said.
Simmons denied the assault in a statement to Variety, writing that he has taken “multiple lie detector tests that affirm” he has never committed a sexual assault.
“Alexia and I dated, were intimate and attended multiple events together after she alleges the incident occurred in 1990. I considered her a friend for all these years and continue to have a warm relationship with members of her family,” he wrote, noting that he thinks he last spoke with her in 2006.
Jones told Variety that she and Simmons did not actually date, though Simmons’ longtime driver Kenneth L. Jennings told the outlet he recalled talking the two on approximately 11 dates in the early ’90s.
Accusations of rape and assault against Simmons have continued to flood in since Keri Claussen Khalighi told the Los Angeles Times in November that he raped her in 1991.
The stories that followed — from women including screenwriter Jenny Lumet, singer Sherri Hines and actress Natashia Williams-Blach — demonstrated similar patterns, claiming Simmons abused his power as a powerful industry executive to orchestrate the assaults.
He has denied all accusations, and has said he is an avid supporter of the #MeToo movement.
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