Kimora Lee and Aoki Lee Simmons say the Def Jam entrepreneur’s hit “rock bottom.” He’d previously been accused of sexual misconduct by 13 women
HIP-HOP AND LIFESTYLE mogul Russell Simmons has allegedly become erratic and increasingly abusive toward his own family, according to Instagram posts from his daughter Aoki Lee Simmons and ex-wife Kimora Lee Simmons.
In her Instagram Stories on Monday, Aoki shared fraught text messages with her father, claiming that “he’s been awful to me for years.” One post appears to show Simmons calling Kimora — Aoki’s mother — a “piece of hit,” accusing her of stealing money from him. Subsequent text images show Aoki claiming that Simmons calls her just to rant and curse about his legal problems. She shared one muted recording of a FaceTime call in which Simmons yells, visibly enraged, and commented, “This is not someone who will accept help.”
Simmons, who co-founded Def Jam Recordings in 1984, has more recently faced a spate of accusations of sexual misconduct and assault. A 2020 HBO Max documentary, On the Record, covers those allegations and includes interviews with his accusers. Simmons also sued Kimora in 2021, alleging that she and her then-partner Tim Leissner, former managing director at Goldman Sachs, had stolen his shares in a company to pay for a fine Leissner received after pleading guilty to financial crimes. Kimora countersued and won a $100,000 judgment from Simmons last year.
Kimora shared her own concerns about Simmons’ recent behavior in Instagram Stories and warned him in an Instagram Live of what else may come out if he doesn’t deescalate, saying she has “receipts” proving how he’s spiraled downward. “Please don’t attack my children. They’ve been through so much,” Kimora pleaded. “Please don’t attack my family, which is supposed to be your family, too.” She added that Simmons seems to be “at rock bottom” and may be desperate for money.
“Please leave us alone, I beg,” Lee said at another point in her Live video. She shared a screenshot of her daughter Aoki’s text to Simmons claiming she’s suffered panic attacks because of his alleged verbal abuse over the phone with a caption that read: “No one should live like this. No one’s child. This is abuse.” Elsewhere, Lee noted, “We won’t be bullied, threatened or afraid.”
In her posts, Aoki alleged that Simmons has vowed to prevent her from getting certain fashion jobs, “threatened and bullied” her sister and grandmother, and lashed out randomly at anyone he perceives as not supporting him. She also speculated that he’s in the midst of a mental health crisis or “experiencing something like dementia,” as he “acts like he hates and does not know his children frequently.” Before this latest phase, she said, Simmons was “the best dad ever” and the change has been “terrifying.”
Aoki seemed to indicate a need to cut ties with Simmons, at least for the time being, saying in a comment that she would have to block him. In her last Instagram Story on the subject, she included a happy photo of Simmons holding her as a young girl, writing, “I did the best that I could, anyway I’m out of here.”
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