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Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
Emily St. Martin

Russell Simmons' daughter insists he's 'completely changed,' and it's been 'terrifying'

Russell Simmons' daughters and ex-wife have taken to Instagram with claims that the music mogul has been emotionally abusive and increasingly volatile.

Father's Day seemed to unearth some complicated emotions for Ming and Aoki Simmons and their mother, Kimora Lee Simmons. Each voiced grievances with the Simmons family patriarch.

On Sunday, the eldest of the daughters, Ming, 23, who graduated from New York University this year, posted a since-deleted Instagram story wishing her mother a happy Father's Day, rather than her dad.

Russell, 65, then posted to his own Instagram stories, sharing screenshots of "Happy Father's Day" messages coming from his nieces Vanessa J. Simmons and Angela Simmons, as well as a quote that read, "The father you have is the perfect father for the evolution of your soul and the lessons that you needed to learn in this lifetime."

According to TMZ, he also shared a since-deleted Instagram story that blamed ex-wife Kimora for the family fallout. The outlet reported that Kimora went live on Instagram on Monday, saying that she's had her ex-husband blocked on social media for a long time, but that he has continued to post in a way that implies the family is on good terms.

The younger of the two daughters, Aoki, who recently graduated from Harvard at 20 years old, shared FaceTime calls and text exchanges with her father in which the two argue and Russell claims that Aoki's mother "stole his money" and the "love of his kids" and calls Kimora a "piece of s---."

"This is not someone who will accept help," Aoki captioned a video that did not include sound but showed her dad appearing to scream at her via FaceTime. "This is just one screen recording sorry I don't always remember to press 'record' when he calls my friends, my boyfriend, anyone, to get a chance to threaten and curse and go crazy."

She also posted a video of herself, emotionally explaining that although she and her dad used to be close, many of the family members now think that her dad has "completely changed," and that she had multiple screen recordings and voice memos in which Russell "doesn't sound like a human being." She described him as shrieking, and "sounding possessed."

She later posted to her Instagram stories to add: "Some of us do think he's mentally ill or experiencing (something) like dementia, he really acts like he hates and does not know children frequently." She also wrote that he'd previously been "really the best dad ever." She said he'd had a shift in behavior that was "a terrifying change to watch."

Kimora, 48, also shared a screenshot of a message that Aoki had sent to her father, in which she explained that she'd cut off contact with her dad because of the panic attacks she would have as a response to their interactions, revealing that she'd been prescribed an "emergency medication" due to the severity of her anxiety. Kimora wrote alongside the screenshot that "no one should live like this," calling Russell's behavior abuse.

The fashion designer posted multiple messages aimed at Russell on Monday. She claimed that her ex had been "threatening my kids lives." She also slammed Russell, saying he was projecting his own "shortcomings and embarrassments" onto others.

"The same abusive ish," Kimora continued. "This is how you maneuver with the world and women all around you."

Russell Simmons did not immediately respond to the Los Angeles Times' request for comment.

This is not the first time the Def Jam Recordings co-founder — who signed hip-hop giants the Beastie Boys, LL Cool J, Public Enemy and Kanye West, to name a few — has been accused of abuse.

Over the last decade, Russell has been accused of rape and sexual assault on numerous occasions. Simmons, in a 2017 statement to the Times, denied the claims of the women.

"These new stories range from the patently untrue to frivolous and hurtful claims," he said. "I want to restate categorically what I have said previously: I have never been violent or abusive to any women in any way at any time in my entire life."


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