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HBO said Monday that it plans to continue Russell Simmons’ Def Comedy series despite accusations of sexual misconduct against the hip-hop mogul.
“We do plan to air [‘All Def Comedy’] beginning next week,” HBO said in a statement. “The show is a platform for promising new artists, and we want them to have the opportunity to showcase their talent to a national audience.”
Simmons’ “Def Comedy Jam,” which first aired on the network from 1992 to 1997, was lauded for creating a platform for black stand-up comics. Some of the famous names whose careers were boosted by appearing on the series include D.L Hughley, Dave Chappelle, Chris Rock and Martin Lawrence.
The show later returned with Simmons as executive producer. Last November an “All Def Comedy” special aired on HBO. The series is scheduled to return Dec. 1.
Simmons, who co-founded Def Jam Records, was recently accused of sexual misconduct stemming from an alleged incident involving Brett Ratner in 1991 that was recounted by a then-17-year-old fashion model, Keri Claussen Khalighi. Simmons has disputed the claim. “Everything that occurred between Keri and me occurred with her full consent and participation,” he said in a statement.