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Russell Simmons’ Lawyer Disputes Rape Accusation, Blasts ‘Disappointing’ THR Story

Music mogul’s attorney says The Hollywood Reporter published accuser’s account despite receiving contradictory evidence

Last Updated: June 29, 2018 @ 11:46 AM

Russell Simmons has blasted to The Hollywood Reporter over a lengthy story that detailed a rape accusation against him, calling it a “disappointing” story.

“The Hollywood Reporter published an article despite material facts and witness statements shared with them that contradict Ms. Abrams’ account, all of which were omitted from the story. These documents include a declaration, sworn under oath, by someone who spoke with Ms. Abrams the day after her sexual encounter with Mr. Simmons and described it as consensual,” said Simmons’ lawyer Patricia Glaser in a statement to TheWrap.

“NBC said its news department had enlisted seasoned investigative journalists to assist Reid and that certain aspects of the story did not meet its standards. It’s disappointing, to say the least, that THR didn’t adhere to the same standards.”

On Thursday, The Hollywood Reporter published a lengthy account of Sil Lai Abrams, a woman who said in 1994, Simmons raped her in his home while she was intoxicated.

“By Abrams’ account, she never imagined that Simmons presented a threat or that he might force himself on a woman. But as she drifted in and out of awareness, she says, she opened her eyes and saw him approaching, naked except for a condom,” wrote Kim Masters in the piece. “She says he flipped her onto her stomach, pulled down the bike shorts she was wearing beneath her dress and raped her.”

Abrams also accused “Extra” host A.J. Calloway of sexual assault in the same piece during a separate incident in 2006.

The piece said Abrams had been working with MSNBC host Joy Reid to investigate the issues at hand and to reveal her story on the network. As Simmons’ attorney suggested, the story was essentially spiked at the network because there was not enough corroborating evidence.

“When MSNBC pursues any investigative story our mission is always to be as thorough as we can, to scrutinize sources and corroborate information before we report. Anything else falls short of our journalistic standards,” the network said in a statement.