Def Jam co-founder Russell Simmons is speaking out about multiple rape allegations made against him years ago ... and he's continuing to deny sexually assaulting anyone.
The music mogul opened up about the claims against him on Wednesday's episode of "In Depth with Graham Bensinger" ... saying, "I've never been violent to anybody" -- adding all his relationships "have been consensual."
He owns up to being insensitive and using "crude" language during sexual encounters over the years, but shoots down the notion he's been "forceful" with any past partners.
Further, he complains he's suffered greatly due to the allegations ... saying, "All my five charities have gone down." However, he applauds the #MeToo movement -- which fueled the heat on Simmons in 2017 -- by saying, "It's done a lot of great work for women. It sensitized men in ways they were not sensitized, and for that I'm grateful."
Simmons stops short of flat-out calling his accusers liars, and instead, suggests this is more about changing times and attitudes toward sex. He says he's had thousands of sexual partners over the years, but thinks it's not fair to compare the climate of today to how it was 40 years ago.
As we reported, multiple women came forward claiming Russell sexually assaulted them over the years. He was also sued by Jennifer Jarosik in 2018 over similar allegations -- but the case was dismissed months after she filed. Simmons maintained her allegations were "absolutely untrue."
By the way, Graham flew to Simmons' home in Bali -- where he's lived since 2017 -- to do the interview, but Simmons denies fleeing, saying ... "Because I left and I spend so much time here, people assumed that I really left and ran even though I'm back in America all the time."
Indeed, we actually saw Simmons in L.A. back in 2018, and he was adamant the claims against him were false ... which is still his stance today.