“I add my voice to the chorus of those speaking out against harassment and violence in all its forms,” Lee Simmons, 42, wrote in a lengthy Instagram post defending her husband while also supporting the #MeToo movement on Thursday.
“I have known Russell for over 25 years. We were close friends, married, divorced and have remained friends, co-parents and partners throughout it all. These allegations against him are nothing like the person I have known in all that time. I have known him to be a caring and supportive father and someone who has worked tirelessly to uplift disenfranchised communities,” she added.
Continuing her statement, Lee Simmons added, “This is a pivotal moment in which men are being held accountable for their abuses of power and denigrating behavior towards women in all spheres. As a mother of two daughters, I believe that no one should ever be shamed or portrayed as an unreliable witness to their own experience for speaking up. Nor should anyone be condemned legally without due process and a fair trial.”
“My sincere hope is that anyone faced with harassment or assault reports it to their organization and/or law enforcement, though I understand that in many cases, this may not be possible. I remain committed as always to fighting injustice and inequity in all its forms. God Bless,” she concluded.
A total of 15 women have now accused Simmons of sexual misconduct, ranging from inappropriate behavior in business meetings to attempted assault in a women’s restroom in New York City during a night of partying to rape at his apartment.
The accusations span more than three decades, according to various reports by The Hollywood Reporter, The New York Times and The Los Angeles Times.
In a previous statement to PEOPLE, Simmons, 60, “vehemently” denied all the allegations, saying that all his “relations have been consensual” and the “horrific accusations have shocked me to my core.”
“I am devastated by any reason I may have given to anyone to say or think of me in the ways that are currently being described. In recent weeks, some former business, creative and romantic partners have aired grievances as claims I categorically reject … The current allegations sent to me by the New York Times and Los Angeles Times range from the patently untrue to the frivolous and hurtful. The presumption of innocent until proven guilty must not be replaced by ‘Guilty by Accusation,’” he said.
“I have accepted that I can and should get dirt on my sleeves if it means witnessing the birth of a new consciousness about women. What I will not accept is responsibility for what I have not done. I have conducted my life with a message of peace and love. Although I have been candid about how I have lived in books and interviews detailing my flaws, I will relentlessly fight against any untruthful character assassination that paints me as a man of violence.”