In a new episode of In Depth with Graham Bensinger, hip hop mogul Russell Simmons finally addressed allegations of sexual misconduct—including rape— that first surfaced in 2017. Even though 18 women have come forward against Simmons, he said he has proof of his innocence.
“I took nine lie detector tests, people don’t know that,” Simmons stated during the interview. “Nine separate — seven from the Chairman of the Polygraph Association. One for each and serious accusation...some people say that they’re not accurate, but it’s 94% accurate.”
In addition to Simmons denying any wrongdoing this week, Sean “Diddy” Combs—who has recently been accused of rape and sex trafficking by several women—also released a statement:
“Enough is enough. For the last couple of weeks, I have sat silently and watched people try to assassinate my character, destroy my reputation and my legacy. Sickening allegations have been made against me by individuals looking for a quick payday. Let me be absolutely clear: I did not do any of the awful things being alleged. I will fight for my name, my family and for the truth.”
Simmons’s accusers bravely told their stories in the 2020 Max documentary On the Record and in subsequent years. Casandra “Cassie” Ventura last month sued, then settle with, Combs over allegations that he viciously abused her during their 10 year relationship. More women have accused Diddy since Ventura’s lawsuit became public knowledge.
Both men remain adamant about doing nothing wrong and cases of alleged sexual misconduct are inherently complex. They have a right to defend themselves, but Black women still need to be heard and protected.
Even though both men have insisted they are blameless—and they have every right to a vigorous defense—it is vital to still support the women who find the courage to speak out. Black women have always been extremely vulnerable and unguarded group—especially when the men they go up against are as powerful and famous as Russell Simmons and Sean Combs.