Russell Simmons is continuing to proclaim his innocence amidst sexual misconduct allegations against him. TMZ caught the entrepreneur leaving a restaurant in West Hollywood, where he disputed the claims.
“I don’t have a stitch of violence in me,” Simmons said. “I would never hurt anybody…I have never had any violence in me, but this is a difficult time for everyone.” He later hopped in his Range Rover and drove away, but not before planting some kisses on his date.
12 women have come forward to accuse Simmons of wrongdoing, such as screenwriter Jenny Lumet and Insecure actress Amanda Seales. Rumors began swirling about Simmons’ history with sexual misconduct in November, however, he has remained steadfast about his consensual encounters with some of the accusers.
In late-November, after Lumet wrote a recollection of her evening with Mr. Simmons for The Hollywood Reporter, he announced he was “stepping aside” to commit himself to becoming a better man in the midst of the allegations.
“[Jenny Lumet’s] memory of that evening is very different from mine,” he wrote. “It is now clear to me that her feelings of fear and intimidation are real…I will step aside and commit myself to continuing my personal growth, spiritual learning and above all to listening.”
This article originally appeared in Vibe.