Russell Simmons Accuser Sil Lai Abrams: I Will Not Be Complicit In Silencing Survivors!
Journalist Sil Lai Abrams opened up about her rape allegations against Russell Simmons, how the allegations have impacted her children, and reiterated that she is not accusing Russell Simmons for money but instead wants him to admit to his alleged wrongdoings.
Sil Lai Abrams spoke about her accusations against Russell Simmons on “The Breakfast Club” and discussed how the allegations impacted her personally. Sil Lai Abrams also felt that Simmons was unchallenged throughout the recent interview that he did with the radio show, which she calls harmful and re-traumatizing.
“The first time that Russell pops up is on a show with such a reach as ‘The Breakfast Club’, and that he was unchallenged essentially throughout the entire interview and not only was he unchallenged and allowed to perpetuate a lot of very harmful myths around rape and around the women that have accused him but also be it was very re-traumatizing. It was a traumatic experience because we didn’t have an opportunity to speak, there’s been this huge vortex of silence around the film within the black community which in large part I believe has been managed and negotiated by him. He’s a man with incredible power.”
She also compared him to Harvey Weinstein, who was recently sentenced to more than 20 years in prison for sexual assault, and R. Kelly, who’s currently in jail on similar charges.
Russell is the Harvey Weinstein of the hip hop community. Even prior to Harvey being convicted, Harvey had become a pariah because of the multiple allegations by so many different women against him but those same standards don’t apply to our community with R. Kelly or anyone else that has perpetuated these types of crimes. We ride or die for them until the end and I get that we can get into that later, but just specifically why I’ve been so vocal is because there is a tremendous responsibility that comes with having the privilege of the position that your show has. And at times, the show hasn’t done right by the community that it says it loves.”
Sil Lai Abrams explains that she has had to talk to her adult children the situation that occurred with her and Simmons,
“It was heartbreaking because I knew that I was taking something away from my kids by telling them, yeah this guy everyone looks up to, yeah that uncle, he’s the uncle that did this to your mother, and knowing how much my kids love hip hop doing it. When I went to Sundance, my son came with me and he sat right next to me. I’d seen one cut of the film prior, but I held his hand and my hands were sweating… All I’m going to say is I’m holding my 29 year old son’s hand and I’m shaking like a leaf, and he’s being strong for me, and I’m like no I’m here to be strong for you. And I just end up bursting into tears and I’m weeping on his shoulder and begging for his forgiveness. This isn’t something that you do lightheartedly.”
On the topic of whether Sil Lai had brought on the civil suit for money, which is a topic that Russell Simmons brought up in his Breakfast Club interview, Sil Lai responds,
“And to Russell’s point last week, I’ve never filed a civil suit I never wanted anything from him, but what I will not do is be complicit in silencing survivors nor will I be silenced. I’m scrappy Angela, anyone that knows me anywhere knows I’m very scrappy, I will call it like it is. The privilege that I have, the many levels of privilege that I have of the relationships within the industry, of having a certain attorney, all this stuff that I have at my disposal is what allowed my story to end up being published after it was killed by one news outlet. You know how it works when your story gets squashed at one news outlet, the bar is set double as high to get published with another one. I keep thinking about all of rape is a crime that happens in private, it happens in the private sphere but is litigated in public, and so many victims don’t have receipts.
When Angela Yee asks Sil Lai what she would want to see from Russell, Sil Lai says,
“I want accountability. If we’re not able to navigate the criminal justice system because what happened between us is outside of the statute of limitations, and let me be very clear I chose not to press charges at the time because I was drunk that night, because of the fact that he and I did have a prior sexual relationship, and I was terrified because of the imbalance in power and money between us and what happened in the examination. I was scared, now today as a woman who is going to be turning 50 in a month, what does the grown ass woman want, what I want is a chance to begin restorative justice. I want Russell to actually stop the pantomime of being an innocent and truly acknowledge the harm that he’s done and then start to make the amends to the individuals and the community that he continues to harm by peddling mistruths that he ends up contradicting himself. Just pointing to the interview last week he said that he misinterpreted what happened with Jenny and I’m like dude you just said in essence that you raped her like that’s what you said right I mean I guess I got my signals crossed. Well if Jenny says it wasn’t consensual, and you don’t know what consent is, well I’m sorry well that right there was an admission of some sort.”
See the full interview below.
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