Russell Simmons Sued for Defamation by Rape Accuser

Valerie Macon/AFP/Getty Images
Valerie Macon/AFP/Getty Images

Russell Simmons is facing yet another lawsuit, this time for defamation by a former Def Jam exec who claims Simmons tried to undermine her rape accusations against him by “calling her a liar.”

In the lawsuit, filed Thursday and obtained by The Daily Beast, former Def Jam A&R director Drew Dixon accuses Simmons of a “concerted and malicious campaign to discredit” her and to “damage her reputation” via a December podcast interview. Dixon alleges she was raped by Simmons in 1995.

The complaint stems from Simmons’ interview on In Depth With Graham Basinger back in December. Though Simmons did not mention Dixon by name in the interview, he referenced statements she made in a 2017 New York Times article about the alleged assault, as well as the 2020 documentary On the Record, which chronicled accusations of abuse and harassment against the music mogul.

Simmons said in the podcast interview that he had “never been forceful” in his relationships, suggesting that the allegations were made by someone who would “want notoriety in the market where people thirst for fame.” He also said at one point in the interview, “Yeah, [rape] is a serious word, but I think they’ve changed the meaning.”

Activist Drew Dixon: Sexual-Assault Survivors Are Reclaiming Our Time

According to Dixon’s lawsuit, Simmons made those statements “with the malicious intent of discrediting and further damaging” her and the other women who have publicly accused him of sexual assault. And in doing so, her suit claims, “Her fears of ostracization and retribution when she was first assaulted have been fully realized,” as she says she has been unable to continue her career in the entertainment industry. “Indeed,” her suit says, “Mr. Simmons and his fellow gatekeepers have locked the doors to Ms. Dixon once and for all.”

In a statement provided to The Daily Beast, Dixon’s attorneys Sigrid McCawley and Kenya Davis said, “Ms. Dixon has taken enough abuse. Not only was she violently raped by Russell Simmons—profoundly disrupting her personal and professional life—but after she tried to move forward and heal, he then further abused her by publicly proclaiming that she lied about the rape in search of ‘fame.’ Mr. Simmons has used his public platform to re-traumatize and terrorize Ms. Dixon, and the time has now come to hold him accountable for his defamatory statements and to end this cycle of abuse.”

A representative for Simmons did not immediately return The Daily Beast’s request for comment.

Dixon is seeking an undisclosed amount in damages, including punitive damages for malicious conduct.

The new lawsuit comes just days after Simmons was sued for sexual assault and battery by another ex-executive of Def Jam Recordings. The accuser, who sued as a Jane Doe, claims Simmons raped her at his apartment in the ’90s, and that, like Dixon, her career suffered in the aftermath.

Ex-Def Jam Producer Alleges Russell Simmons Raped Her and Destroyed Her Career

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