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Russell Simmons Hit With Defamation Lawsuit From Alleged Rape Victim for ‘Calling Her A Liar’

Mr. Nimbus | 02/15/2024

Former record executive Drew Dixon, who previously accused Russell Simmons of rape, is now suing the Def Jam Recordings founder over allegations that he defamed her by suggesting during a December interview that she was lying about the incident.

In a lawsuit filed Thursday (Feb. 15) in Manhattan federal court, Dixon’s attorneys claim Simmons “subjected Ms. Dixon to public ridicule, contempt, and disgrace” by “calling her a liar.” During the interview, Simmons did not reference Dixon by name, but her lawyers say the message was clear.

“Mr. Simmons’s false statements were broadcast around the world and were reasonably understood by those who heard them to be specific factual claims by Mr. Simmons that he had not sexually abused Ms. Dixon and that Ms. Dixon was a liar who was seeking fame,” her attorneys wrote.

Trending on Billboard

The lawsuit claims that Simmons’ statements were designed “to cause the world to disbelieve Ms. Dixon” and to “destroy Ms. Dixon’s efforts to use her experience to help others suffering as victims of sexual abuse and harassment.”

Simmons did not immediately return a request for comment on the lawsuit’s allegations.

Dixon, a former A&R at Def Jam, was one of three women who accused Simmons of rape in a blockbuster 2017 article by the New York Times. Her allegations were also at the center of On the Record, a 2020 documentary film that featured interviews with numerous other women who have made other abuse accusations against Simmons.

Similar harassment and assault claims against Simmons by other women have also been reported by the Los Angeles Times and the Hollywood Reporter; a report by People says that a total of 19 different women have made allegations against him. Just last week, Simmons was hit with new accusations in a federal lawsuit that claims he raped a former Def Jam video producer in the 1990s.

At issue in Friday’s lawsuit are statements made by Simmons during an interview on a Dec. 6 episode of In Depth with Graham Besinger, titled “Russell Simmons breaks silence on allegations.”

On the podcast, Simmons said he was facing allegations from “six people” after he slept with “thousands” of women over the course of his life. He said that “people can have a recollection from 30 or 40 years ago, and it can be different from my recollection.”

“Could someone leave and feel hurt? Could someone leave and feel that they wish they hadn’t? Could some re-imagine a story out of thousands of people? Could someone want notoriety in a market where people thirst for fame?” Simmons asked, before later adding: “I’ve never been forceful in any of my relationships. All of what I’ve had has been consensual.”

Dixon’s name is never mentioned during the interview. But statements can still be defamatory without explicitly naming the alleged target, so long as a person is “reasonably identifiable” from what is said.

In her complaint, her lawyers say the “six people” Simmons mentioned “necessarily includes Ms. Dixon,” and thus his statements “have the effect” of accusing her of lying in her allegations: “Mr. Simmons’s false statements directly and indirectly indicate that Ms. Dixon lied about being sexually abused and harassed by Mr. Simmons.”

The case against Simmons is not the first time Dixon has taken a powerful music industry figure to court.

While she hasn’t previously filed a lawsuit against Simmons over her public abuse accusations, she did file such a case in November against Antonio “L.A.” Reid, a longtime music industry executive with stints at Epic Records, Island Def Jam and Arista Records. In that case, Dixon says Reid assaulted her twice during the mid-2000s and then blackballed her after she rebuffed further advances.

That case remains pending.

This post was originally published on this site

Written by Mr. Nimbus

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