Fashion News Alert: Trouble for Russell Simmons, Bruce Weber Accused, Barbie Makeover, and Kanye West Sued

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Media mogul Russell Simmons is stepping down from the leadership of his many companies because of sexual abuse allegations. Simmons was the co-founder of Def Jam Recordings, and created fashion lines, Phat Farm, Argyleculture, and Tantris. Simmons is also the CEO of Rush Communications.Jenny Lumet, the granddaughter of Lena Horne, is accusing Russell Simmons of sexual assault. “There is so much guilt, and so much shame,” Lumet wrote in her column for the Hollywood Reporter. “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. Again, shame about who I was years ago, choices made years ago. In this very moment, I feel a pang to protect your daughters. I don’t think you are inclined to protect mine.”

“The companies will now be run by a new and diverse generation of extraordinary executives who are moving the culture and consciousness forward,” said Simmons, adding, “As for me, I will step aside and commit myself to continuing my personal growth, spiritual learning, and, above all, to listening.”

Earlier in the month model Keri Claussen Khalighi accused Simmons of forcing her to have sex in conjunction with director Bruce Ratner. Ratner has had several women accusing him sexual assault. Tanya Reid has also accused Simmons of forcing her to perform oral sex on him in front of Ratner.

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Gigi and Barbie

Supermodel Gigi Hadid continues to have market proliferation. On next Tuesday, Gigi Hadid’s Barbie launches, commemorating her first runway walk as the global ambassador for Tommy Hilfiger’s women’s wear collection.

TommyxGigi Barbie is styled in a miniature version of the navy flag hoodie, white shorts and slip-on sneakers that Gigi wore to close the show. TommyxGigi Barbie has a suggested retail price of $50.

“I’m so honored to have my own Barbie, which celebrates my partnership with Tommy Hilfiger,” said Hadid, as detailed in a “Seeing the doll for the first time was surreal, and I’m so happy that we now get to share her with TommyXGigi and Barbie fans around the world!”

“The collaboration with Gigi and Barbie was an exciting new twist on our brand’s history of partnering with pop culture icons and our ongoing ambassadorship with Gigi,” said Tommy Hilfiger. “The final look of the TommyXGigi Barbie doll is a celebration of a defining moment in the history of Tommy Hilfiger womenswear.”

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More trouble for Kanye

Lawsuits against fashion designers keep ramping up. Kanye West’s West Brand Fashion, LLC is being sued by a former Istanbul-based sourcing agent for work she called she was not paid on West’s Yeezy season 2, 3, and 4.

Derya Gulseven claims that she was hired by West’s fashion company to find manufacturers to make Yeezy apparel in Turkey. According to Gulseven explained that her company, Dde Sourcing, was hired in 2015 to “new generation sourcing, buying, and manufacturing solutions” and that Turkey-based manufacturers would continue to make Yeezy garments after 2015.

Gulseven claims that once her company located the factory, she was cut out of the deal and West collaborated directly with the factory, depriving her company of the finder’s fee that was 7 percent of the $1.25 million order. The percentage would have come to around $87, 000.

Gulseven continued to work for West Brands even though she was not paid for her Yeezy 2 work. Though Gulseven was paid for her work with the company for Yeezy 3, Gulseven claimed she was not paid her 7 percent of Yeezy’s $2.24 million order. Gulseven claims she was only paid 4 percent.

Gulseven also worked for West Brands on Yeezy 4, but claims she was also not paid. In total, Gulseven claims that she is owed $228,000 from West Brands, and has also filed in court for punitive damages.

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Male models accuse Weber

Another male model has accused iconic fashion photographer Bruce Weber of sexual misconduct. Two male models contend that Weber pressured them into taking their clothes off and touched their genitals during photo shoots. Attorney Lisa Bloom is representing both male models Jason Boyce and Mark Ricketson.

“The entire experience was terrifying and humiliating,” Boyce said in a article. “I have suffered from depression and anxiety as a result of my photo shoot with Bruce Weber, and want this behavior to end now. I filed this lawsuit to show that this kind of abuse is wrong, and to hopefully stop it from happening to more of us.”

The sexual misconduct experienced by Mark Ricketson happened over 13 years ago; however, because of statute limitations laws in California Ricketson cannot sue. “I’ve … talked to other young men who, like me, knew that if we protested or refused then we would be blacklisted, not just from the photo shoot, but likely from our agency,” Ricketson said. “There is no safe place to go. If you wanted to work, you did what you were told.”

Jason Boyce filed a lawsuit against Bruce Weber in New York court last Friday.

—William S. Gooch

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