Amid mounting accusations of sexual misconduct, the New York Police Department has launched an official investigation into disgraced music mogul Russell Simmons. Meanwhile, Simmons took to social media to belittle the entire #MeToo movement.
According to CNN, citing a law enforcement official with knowledge of the investigation, the department has not yet received a formal complaint but is investigating based on the numerous women who have come forward in the media.
At least 13 women have accused Simmons of misconduct ranging from attempted assault to rape, according to PEOPLE. Several of the incidents allegedly took place in New York.
On Wednesday The New York Times and Los Angeles Times released reports of nine women coming forward, including four who accused Simmons of rape.
“We were made aware of the alleged crime through the media, and we anticipate there will be more who come forward,” an anonymous source with the NYPD told the LA Times. “We’re in the process of setting up interviews and if any victims want to come forward, they should contact us.”
Allegations against Simmons began last month, when the LA Times published the story of former model Keri Claussen Khalighi. Khalighi said Simmons sexually assaulted her in 1991 when she was 17 years old.
Simmons has denied the allegations against him.
“I vehemently deny all these allegations. These horrific accusations have shocked me to my core and all of my relations have been consensual,” he said in a statement to the NY Times.
“I am blessed to have shared extraordinary relationships, whether through work or love, with many great women; and I have enormous respect for the women’s movement worldwide and their struggle for respect, dignity, equality and power.”
Simmons had a bad way of showing his “respect” for women, though.
The #MeToo movement has taken the nation by storm as women (and some men) have bravely come forward to share their stories experiencing sexual assault. On Thursday Simmons decided to join in with a movement of his own, in essence demeaning the #MeToo mission.
He posted a photo on Instagram featuring his own new hashtag: #NotMe.
Today, I begin to properly defend myself. I will prove without any doubt that I am innocent of all rape charges. Today, I will focus on “The Original Sin” (Keri Claussen), the claim that created this insane pile on of my #MeToo. Stay tuned! We’ll share information today… And tomorrow the case of Jenny Lumet. My intention is not to diminish the #MeToo movement in anyway, but instead hold my accusers accountable. #NotMe Again, this is not a movement against or even in conjunction with #Metoo . It’s just a statement about my innocence.
Simmons has attempted to portray himself as someone who went through a dark, rough period but has emerged on top. He often touts his appreciation for yoga and adopted a vegan diet. But, as stated by The Root: “When you publicly tout a p***y grabber as your friend, it’s kinda hard to expect anything less than what these women have accused Simmons of, especially since birds of a feather and all that.”
His accusers are not buying it, either. Sherri Hines, who accused Simmons of raping her in 1983 when she was a member of hip-hop group Mercedes Ladies, told the LA Times that she is speaking with an NYPD detective next week. In the meantime, she is disgusted by Simmons’ response calling her and the other women liars.
“I’m appalled that Russell is sitting there calling these women liars and calling me a liar,” she said. “I’m not trying to bash him, but you did what you did, and what you did in the dark comes to light.”