In Brief

Russell Simmons Resigns from Rush Arts Foundation Amid Rape Allegations

Following allegations of sexual harassment and assault, Simmons has left his position as co-chairman of the board of the Brooklyn-based arts nonprofit.

Russell Simmons (photo by Coco Curranski/Flickr)
Russell Simmons (photo by Coco Curranski/Flickr)

Following last month’s accusations of sexual violence against media mogul Russell Simmons — and even before yesterday’s reports in the New York Times and Los Angeles Times, in which more than a half-dozen women accused him of assault and harassment — Simmons has stepped down from his role at the nonprofit Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation (Rush Arts). Simmons co-founded the organization and had been serving as the co-chairman of its board of directors.

In a statement posted on the Brooklyn-based organization’s homepage and social media platforms, Rush Arts Executive Director Tangie Murray does not mention the allegations against Simmons — who co-founded the organization with his brothers, the artist Danny Simmons, and Joseph “Rev. Run” Simmons, of Run-DMC, in 1995 — but bemoans his departure.

“Over the years, Russell has used his voice and resources to help so many in our programs and around the world, and we are deeply saddened by his departure,” Murray writes. “Our Co-Founder and Co-Chairman, artist Danny Simmons who inspired our mission and has steered the course of the foundation over the years, will continue to serve.”

Rush Arts has two main activities, the first focusing on arts education and working with children of all ages, the second consisting of an exhibition program with two gallery spaces, one in Chelsea and the other in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn. In 2016, Rush Arts also expanded to Philadelphia, with a similar focus on organizing exhibitions and offering arts education programming.

Simmons, who co-founded the pioneering rap music label Def Jam with producer Rick Rubin in 1984, has launched a bevy of other companies and organizations including the streetwear label Phat Farm and the yoga clothing brand Tantris, many of them held under his umbrella company Rush Communications. According to a 2011 profile by CNN Money, Simmons’s personal fortune was estimated at $340 million. Following last month’s allegations, he resigned from Rush Communications.

 

Hyperallergic is committed to reporting on sexual harassment in the art world. If you have a story about personal or institutional abuse in our field, please write to Claire Voon at [email protected]

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