During this time, Simmons helped manage the record label that launched the careers of genre-defining artists like LL Cool J, Run-DMC, and JAY-Z.He was hip-hop’s first mogul, branching out into endeavors that spanned film, fashion, media, and fitness, particularly after he sold Def Jam to Universal Music Group in 1999.
In 1991, model Keri Claussen Khalighi claims that Simmons tried to force her into intocourse before eventually coercing her into performing oral sex while director Brett Ratner, then Simmons’ protege, “just sat there and watched.” At one point, Simmons came up behind her in the shower and “briefly penetrated her without her consent,” she told the .
Also in 1991, Simmons invited his management client Tina Baker, then a singer known as Tina B, back to his apartment for a meeting and subsequently raped her.
Ashhurst, who was then working closely with Simmons on Def Pictures, was privy to a contract re-negotiation meeting with Sony from 1996, one that showed he possessed “the ability to turn his empathy off at will.” In , she recounts that Simmons burst into tears when Sony rejected his multi-million dollar advance request, invoking his dying mother to sway the Sony lawyers into providing better terms.
When Ashhurst and Simmons left the meeting and got into his car, Simmons turned to her, smiling, and asked, “How’d I do? Drew Dixon, who worked under Simmons as a Def Jam A&R executive from 1992 to ’96, told the that fending off Simmons’ sexual advances was “a full-time job.” This long-standing sexual harassment allegedly included regular instances of Simmons exposing himself to Dixon in the workplace.
Both are intended to speak to the role power plays in patterns of sexual assault.