Russell Simmons apologizes, takes down ‘Harriet Tubman Sex Tape’

Russell Simmons has apologized for "The Harriet Tubman Sex Tape."
(Matt Sayles / Invision/Associated Press)

This is probably not the type of publicity Russell Simmons was hoping for with his new YouTube channel, All Def Digital.

The media mogul has apologized for and taken down from the channel a comedy video titled “The Harriet Tubman Sex Tape.” The spoof portrayed the abolitionist icon tricking her slave master into having sex with her on camera in order to blackmail him.

The video received a barrage of criticism, including posts on social media sites and online publications that called it offensive.


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Simmons, in a statement posted on the pop culture website, said he had been contacted by “buddies” from the NAACP, who asked him to take the video down.

“In the whole history of Def Comedy Jam, I’ve never taken down a controversial comedian,” Simmons wrote. “When my buddies from the NAACP called and asked me to take down the Harriet Tubman video from the All Def Digital YouTube channel and apologize, I agreed.”

He continued: “I’m a very liberal person with thick skin. My first impression of the Harriet Tubman piece was that it was about what one of the actors said in the video, that 162 years later, there’s still tremendous injustice. And with Harriet Tubman outwitting the slave master? I thought it was politically correct. Silly me. I can now understand why so many people are upset. I have taken down the video. Lastly, I would never condone violence against women in any form, and for all of those I offended, I am sincerely sorry.”

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On Wednesday, Simmons launched All Def Digital, a joint venture with the DreamWorks Animation-owned AwesomenessTV.

Naturally, the video has not disappeared from the Web, despite Simmons’ apology. Other YouTube users have re-posted it.


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