Russell Simmons Puts His Ill-Advised ‘#NotMe’ Campaign On Hold To Allow ‘Women To Speak’

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According to a report from Page Six, hip-hop business mogul Russell Simmons is hitting pause on the ill-advised #NotMe campaign he started in response to allegations of sexual assault against him that surfaced toward the end of last year.

When multiple women came forward to accuse the Def Jam founder of sexual misconduct, he responded by stepping down from leadership positions in his various companies but followed up by angrily lashing out on social media. He posted a screed to Instagram aggressively denying the claims against him while hinting that he had evidence proving that the encounters in question were consensual. The “evidence” in question turned out to be a lie detector test, which his lawyers said he passed.

Unfortunately, he also chose to co-opt the #MeToo hashtag campaign that was circulating on social media to fight back with his own hashtag, #NotMe, which many criticized as insensitive and tone deaf. The backlash apparently convinced him to back off the poorly-conceived effort, with his Instagram reverting to posts with “inspirational” quotes instead of inflammatory defenses. Page Six reports that his representatives stated that Simmons felt it was “a time for women to speak” when pressed, adding, “Mr. Simmons’ previous statements stand, and he has nothing to add to [them] at this time.”

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