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J.C. Penney Pulls Russell Simmons Merchandise In Light of Sexual Misconduct Allegations

December 1, 2017, 7:11 PM UTC

Hip hop mogul Russell Simmons’ business empire took another hit this week after J.C. Penney (JCP) said it was pulling his clothing line in light of sexual misconduct accusations.

Simmons, who founded the Def Jam Recordings record label and is CEO of Rush Communications, was accused this week by screenwriter Jenny Lumet in a guest column published by The Hollywood Reporter of forcing her to have sex with him in 1991. Other women have also made sexual misconduct allegations.

“In light of the recent allegations against Russell Simmons, JCPenney has decided to discontinue selling ArgyleCulture merchandise,” a Penney spokesman told Fortune in an e-mailed statement. Simmons’ ArgyleCulture was sold at only about 80 of Penney’s 875 stores as well as online.

Penney, which is struggling to keep its sales growing, started selling the line last year as part of its push to attract younger, more fashion-conscious men to its stores. The collection included sweaters, polos and blazers and aimed to add to the merchandise selection that is exclusive to Penney in a bid to spur shopper visits. Other lines for young adult men that were launched last year include i jeans by Buffalo and Decree, design to add some flair to Penney’s line-up that includes house brands such as JF J. Ferrar, MSX by Michael Strahan and Ecko Unltd.
Simmons said on Thursday he would step down from Rush and his various other companies. The iconic Def Jam Recordings label was founded in 1984 by Simmons and Rick Rubin, and was home to many of hip hop’s biggest legends include LL Cool J, Slick Rick, The Beastie Boys and Public Enemy. Current stars include Kanye West and Justin Bieber.
The mogul moved his ArgyleCulture line from Macy’s (M), which had been selling it for eight years, a few months after faulting Macy’s for not doing enough to promote African-American designers, according to a post two years ago by Fashionista.