Russell Simmons responds as daughter, ex Kimora Lee Simmons accuses him of emotional abuse

Kimora Lee Simmons and her daughters Aoki Simmons and Ming Simmons speak out against patriarch Russell Simmons.  (Pictures: Getty Images)

Kimora Lee Simmons and her daughters Aoki Simmons and Ming Simmons speak out against patriarch Russell Simmons. (Pictures: Getty Images)

Russell Simmons apologized to his daughters “for being frustrated and screaming”, but did not directly address the emotional abuse allegations. In a message, he told his daughters “I love you more than myself” – but they have yet to respond.

Drama erupted after Father’s Day when his ex-wife, Kimora Lee Simmons, and their two children, Aoki Simmons and Ming Simmons, went public with their grievances. Aoki shared upsetting text messages allegedly sent by the Def Jam co-founder along with a muted video that appeared to show him berating her on FaceTime.

Here’s what happens.

A Not-So-Happy Father’s Day

On Sunday, Ming, 23, publicly acknowledged his mother on Sunday instead of his father. This apparently triggered Russell as he shared some shady posts on his Instagram Story. One was a sign that read, “Stop telling fathers they should have fought harder to see their children and start asking mothers why he had to fight.”

He shared another image that read, “The father you have is the perfect father for your soul evolution and the lessons you needed to learn in this lifetime.”

Aoki fights back – with support from Kimora

The 20-year-old model, who graduated from Harvard this year, claimed on Instagram that her father “had been awful to me for years.”

Aoki shared a screenshot of text messages in which she told her father that talking to him gave him “panic attacks to the point that I was on emergency treatment every time we spoke. I don’t can’t have a relationship with you until this stops. No one is stopping me from talking to you, my health is. I have to put that first.

She claimed Russell cursed at her with “anger and rage” over a legal dispute he had with Kimora. (More below.) “I’m your child, not your lawyer, your ex-wife. I can’t do anything. Yet you yell at me like it’s my fault,” he said. she wrote, explaining that she couldn’t hear her voice. “without having an anxiety attack.”

Aoki shared a FaceTime call in which his father looked furious. “It’s just a screen recording, sorry, I don’t always remember to press ‘record’ when he calls my friends, my boyfriend, anyone, for a chance to threaten, to curse and go crazy,” she said.

The model also posted text exchanges in which he claims Kimora “stole her money” and “the love of her children” and calls Kimora a “piece of shit.”

“My dad hasn’t been well for years,” Aoki added on social media. “He needs help and won’t accept it. He refuses to acknowledge that he is not himself. He threatened and bullied my sister, my grandmother, he harassed my grandmother at the middle of the night unhealthy, sen[t] a man at my sister’s apartment at 2 a.m. to scare her. He goes after ANYONE who doesn’t say “oh Russell, it’s okay”. Well, that’s not right.”

Aoki said she thought her father might be “mentally ill” or possibly have “dementia”, as she said he was a great father before his behavior changed.

Kimora, who was married to Russell from 1998 to 2009, shared Aoki’s posts on her Instagram Story. She added, “I’m so sorry to have to do this. But this man threatened my children’s lives. I hear so much more now. We won’t be intimidated, threatened or scared.”

In a follow-up message, Kimora added, “Nobody should live like this. Nobody’s child. It’s abuse. Disagree. Threats. Disagree. Fear. No OK.”

Russell responds publicly

The entrepreneur apologized on Instagram, writing, “God is testing you a bit, it’s ok, be strong…these are called growing pains…as you know we grow through adversity and wrestling,” he shared, adding “remember ‘smile and breathe’…”

Russell added that he was “deeply” sorry for yelling.

So far, it doesn’t look like Aoki, Ming, or Kimora have responded.

Russell was distraught after a bitter year-long legal battle with Kimora

In 2021, Russell sued Kimora and her former husband, investment banker Timothy Leissner, for fraud and alleged they stole millions of shares without authorization. Kimora then publicly accused Russell of “extortionate harassment” and “serial abuse” due to the lawsuit. His claim was ultimately denied, and after a year of wrangling, a judge ruled Russell had to pay over $100,000 to cover his legal fees.

This isn’t the first time Russell has been accused of abuse

The Phat Farm founder was accused of rape and sexual assault by multiple women in 2017 as part of the #MeToo movement. He denied all the allegations.

“These new stories range from blatantly false claims to frivolous and hurtful claims,” he told the Los Angeles Times. “I want to categorically reaffirm what I said previously: I have never been violent or abusive towards a woman in any way, at any time in my entire life.”

Russell was the subject of the HBO documentary On the file, which chronicles the decision of some of his accusers, including former Def Jam executive Drew Dixon, to come forward.

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