Toni Sallie was a music journalist in 1987, when she met Simmons. Things were flirty between the two, in the beginning. They even went out on several dates. She was 28. They quickly decided things would not go any further between them. They stopped dating , but remained friends.
One year later, he invited her to a party at his new girlfriend’s place. Upon arrival, she noticed there was nobody else at the party, but went along with it and accepted Russell’s invitation to show her around the house. When they reached the bedroom, his behavior changed. “He pushed me on the bed and jumped on top of me, and physically attacked me”, says Sallie, adding that she fought back, but he won. She she got away, she told three of her friends about the rape and the NY Times confirms they knew about it.
As for involving the police, Sallie explained that at the time, there were two things holding her back from filing a police report against the hip hop mogul. One, she was afraid of how things would turn out for her, a woman. Second, she says she was “very much in a man’s game”. She explained: “Black women were just starting to break into the field.”
This was not the only time that she has been assaulted by Simmons, though. Toni Sallie recalls in detail a second time, in 1989, when the two met again, this time with the occasion of a music conference in South Florida. They met in the hotel lobby and he tried to take her to the beach. When she turned him down, he became aggressive, grabbing her by the hair and chasing her into the women’s restroom. She managed to escape and lock herself in her room.
The effects of the rape are still with her. “I felt alone for 29 years, like nobody would listen to me”, she told the publication. And even now, she says, she is uncomfortable in a room full of men.”
In response to the accusations of Toni Sallie, Russell Simmons’ lawyer, Brad D. Rose confirm that the two have dated, but says there was nothing nonconsensual between them. “At no time did Mr. Simmons conduct himself inappropriately”, the lawyer added.
Russell Simmons, 60, has stepped down from his companies, Def Jam Records, Phat Farm, Argyleculture and Tantris in the wake of the sexual assault allegations against him, which began in mid-November, with model Keri Claussen Khalighi.
At present, five women claim Russell Simmons raped them.