J.C. Penney drops Russell Simmons' Argyleculture after sexual assault allegations
Russell Simmons' clothing line Argyleculture has been dropped by J.C. Penney amidst allegations that he sexually assaulted a model and a screenwriter.
The retailer released a statement yesterday saying, "In light of the recent allegations against Russell Simmons, J.C. Penney has decided to discontinue selling Argyleculture merchandise." Effective immediately, all Argyleculture product has been pulled from J.C. Penney's website.
The allegations referred to by J.C. Penney include charges of rape and sexual violation dating back to the 1990s. The LA Times published an article earlier last month reporting that Simmons had sexually assaulted model Keri Claussen Khalighi, allegations denied by Simmons.
Following that article, screenwriter Jenny Lumet, famous for films such as The Mummy and Rachel Getting Married, wrote an exposé concerning her experiences with Simmons in 1991, claiming that he raped her after she accepted a ride home.
In the wake of Lumet's article, Simmons announced he is removing himself from all of his businesses. Simmons said, "I will step aside and commit myself to continuing my personal growth, spiritual learning and above all to listening."
Simmons founded Phat Farm in 1992, capturing the 90s hip hop and streetwear fashion look of the time. Simmons' wife, Kimora, would go on to found Baby Phat in 1998.
Argyleculture was founded by SImmons in 2004, and J.C. Penney picked the brand up in September of 2016, offering its sweaters, polos and blazers, an assortment that was designed to "represent what millennial guys want in fashion," according to the department store chain. At the brand's peak, J.C. Penney carried Argyleculture in 80 of its 875 stores and online.
In addition to Argyleculture, Simmons' notable businesses include Def Jam Recordings which, at one time, signed Jay-Z, Public Enemy and LL Cool J. Current artists on the label include Iggy Azalea and Justin Bieber. Simmons also founded a yoga center and an apparel brand under the shared name, Tantris.
While Argyleculture has been dropped by J.C. Penney, Amazon and Ebay are still carrying it online.
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