Russell Simmons Sued for Defamation Following Rape Accusations

The label’s former A&R director Drew Dixon, who shared her story in 2020 doc “On the Record,” says the hip-hop mogul sexually assaulted her in 1995

Russell Simmons visits the Build Series in 2017 in New York City
Russell Simmons visits the Build Series in 2017 in New York City (Credit: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)

Def Jam Recordings cofounder Russell Simmons has been sued for defamation by one of his former execs at the hip-hop record label, who accused him of trying to undermine her allegations that he sexually assaulted her in 1995.

In the lawsuit, which was filed in New York Superior Court on Thursday, former Def Jam A&R director Drew Dixon accused Simmons of a “concerted and malicious campaign to discredit” her via a December podcast interview in which he said that “six people” were falsely accusing him of abuse.

While Simmons did not mention Dixon by name, he made references to statements Dixon had made in a 2017 New York Times article and the 2020 documentary “On the Record” about Simmons’ alleged assault. Simmons insisted in the interview that he had “never been forceful in any of my relationships” and suggested that the accusations could have been made by someone who would “want notoriety in the market where people thirst for fame.”

Dixon has asserted that Simmons invited her to his apartment in 1995, supposedly to listen to a new demo tape, but that night pinned her down to his bed and raped her. Dixon accused Simmons of undermining her credibility to such a degree that it has made it difficult for her to reenter the entertainment industry.

Her defamation suit comes days after Simmons was accused of sexual assault and battery by another former Def Jam exec whose name is being withheld from the public record.

“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,’” Dixon’s attorney Sigrid McCawley said in a statement. “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.”


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