Music News: Russell Simmons steps down amid misconduct allegations

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Russell Simmons at a conference in 2016.
Russell Simmons at a conference in 2016. (Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)

Russell Simmons, who as co-founder of Def Jam is one of the most significant figures in hip-hop history, has stepped down from his companies in light of two allegations of sexual misconduct. In a statement announcing the move, Simmons said, "I have never been violent," but added that "I have been thoughtless and insensitive in some of my relationships over many decades and I sincerely apologize."

Two women have accused Simmons of forcing them into sexual contact in the 1990s. The most recent is screenwriter Jenny Lumet, who shared her story in a Hollywood Reporter essay that included the reflection, "There is so much guilt, and so much shame. There is an excruciating internal reckoning. As a woman of color, I cannot express how wrenching it is to write this about a successful man of color." (Washington Post)

Ad-Rock's father accused of sexual misconduct

Famed playwright Israel Horovitz has been accused of sexual misconduct by nine different women. Horovitz, 78, is the father of Adam Horovitz — a.k.a. Ad-Rock of the Beastie Boys. "I believe the allegations against my father are true," said Adam Horovitz in a statement, "and I stand behind the women that made them." (New York Times)

Radiohead stage collapse investigation pursued

Canadian authorities are opening a formal inquest into the death of Scott Johnson, who perished in 2012 when he was working as a drum tech for Radiohead. Prior to a planned show in Toronto, a piece of the band's stage setup fell on Johnson, mortally wounding him. Previous investigations ended due to a technicality.

After learning of the new investigation, Radiohead issued a statement that read in part, "While this is welcomed, it does not bring those responsible for Scott's death to account, and it provides no justice for Scott and his family. We urge the Canadian authorities to look more closely into their treatment of the Downsview Stage Collapse and indeed all workplace deaths to ensure that accidents such as this can be prevented in the future." (Rolling Stone)

Isaac Brock sued over 2016 crash

City of Portland employee Cassidy Kane is suing Modest Mouse frontman Isaac Brock for $865,000 in damages due to a 2016 crash in which Brock's vehicle hit a truck driven by Kane. According to Billboard, "Kane claimed the accident caused herniated disks in her spine and did other tissue and muscle damage that continues to cause her pain and numbness in her extremities."

Brock said the crash happened because he fell asleep at the wheel, and authorities did not find evidence that he was under the influence of drugs or alcohol. He was cited for careless driving and paid a fine of $435. (Billboard)

Music docs to premiere at Sundance

Three music documentaries are among the many films that will premiere in January at the Sundance Film Festival. Bad Reputation looks at the life and career of Joan Jett; Matangi/Maya/M.I.A. draws on never-before-seen personal footage to paint an "intimate portrait" of M.I.A.; and Studio 54 looks inside the NYC venue that's been called "the greatest club of all time." (Billboard)

Remembering Jim Nabors

Actor and singer Jim Nabors has died, after years of declining health, at age 87. He became best known for playing Gomer Pyle in The Andy Griffith Show and its spinoff Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C., but he also recorded dozens of music albums with what the New York Times describes as his "full-throated, almost operatic baritone."


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