Russell Simmons Talks Sexual Assault Claims, Says He’s Taken 9 Lie Detector Tests

Russell Simmons wants to move forward after facing an onslaught of rape and sexual assault allegations since 2017.

The Def Jam co-founder, 66, appeared in a recent episode of In Depth with Graham Bensinger, where he discussed his history of being in “compromising situations,” but denied the accusations he’s facing.

Opening the episode, which was released on Wednesday, were several women, including former Def Jam executive Drew Dixon, who said at the 35-second mark that Simmons was once “naked wearing a condom and tackled me to his bed.” In 2020, at the height of the #MeToo movement, Dixon released the HBO Max documentary On the Record, where she and 20 other women alleged sexual abuse and harassment from Simmons.

While claiming that his encounters with different women from the past could be different from his “recollection,” Simmons admitted to being involved in “foursomes” throughout his career as a music executive. “Could someone leave and feel hurt? Could someone leave and feel they wish they hadn’t? Could someone reimagine a story out of thousands of people? Could someone want notoriety in a market where people thirst for fame? Even infamous?” Simmons asked Bensinger.

Simmons added that he’s taken nine lie detector tests, one for each “violent” accusation that’s been brought against him.  “When someone said, for instance, ‘I was violent’ — one person said that — and I’ve never been violent. Took that. And one said I apologized. I never apologized about assaulting anyone. But if two people say it, because one said it, and #MeToo, and the second person said it, then I took a test for it.”

He continued, “Three hours per test by two polygraph examiners — one that I’ve never done this to anyone and one, I’ve never done to each individual.”

Simmons also emphasized the alleged accuracy of each test, which he claimed to have filmed. “Some people say that they’re not accurate, but it’s 94% accurate,” he said. “I did nine of them, it’s pretty clear that I don’t believe it. I even asked if, ‘Well, what if I believe it, but it’s not true?’ He said, ‘Your subconscious will get you.’ I don’t know how true that is, but that’s what was told to me by the Chairman of the Polygraph Association.” 

Adding that the footage from each polygraph test is available to view, Simmons said that “no one in the mainstream would cover it” due to there being a “narrative” that “we don’t wanna go backwards, we wanna believe women.”

“But women and celebrities maybe in some cases are a little different,” he continued. “But we don’t wanna not believe women, we have to believe women. We have to give them the benefit of the doubt, but we can’t demonize people without proof either.”

Simmons also talked about his daughters, Ming Lee, 23 and Aoki Lee, 21, who he shares with ex-wife Kimora Lee Simmons. In June, the women publicly clashed with Simmons around Father’s Day, when Simmons’ daughters accused him of abusive behavior.

On In Depth, Simmons claimed to still speak with Ming and Aoki behind Kimora’s back “almost every day.” “They started to receive a different narrative and started to really be more difficult to manage my relationship with them,” he added. “I think that they’re old enough to know that their parents aren’t perfect. Their mother loves them and their father loves them, and the dispute that we have will be resolved.”

Since 2017, eighteen women have alleged sexual harassment or rape against Simmons. That same year, Simmons stepped down from his duties at Def Jam and retreated to Bali in 2018, allegedly referring to himself as the “Christian Yogi.”