Def Jam Records co-founder Russell Simmons has issued a public apology after receiving massive backlash following the release of a parody Harriet Tubman sex tape video on his newly launched All Def Digital YouTube page.
Simmons issued the statement Thursday (August 15) and apologized for his poor judgement.
“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 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.” (Statement)
Shortly before the apology, Simmons had the controversial footage removed.
Russell Simmons is apologizing after coming under fire for a video that appeared on his new All Def Digital YouTube channel. The “Harriet Tubman Sex Tape” depicts an actress portraying the famous abolitionist having sex with her “Massa” in order to allow her to run the Underground Railroad. The video has since been taken down. Simmons issued an apology on Globalgrind.com in which he says he was contacted by his “buddies” at the NAACP asking for removal of the video. (USA Today)
The footage started to make its rounds online Wednesday (August 14) evening.
Simmons had tweeted about the video on Wednesday, noting that it was the “funniest thing I’ve ever seen.” In the video, familiar YouTube actress Shanna Malcolm, as Tubman, has over-the-top, aggressive sex with her “Massa,” as she calls him, while a fellow slave records the carnal relations while hidden in the closet. Tubman plans to use the sex tape to blackmail her white owner into letting her run the Underground Railroad, which the real-life Tubman used to lead hundreds of slaves to freedom. “Are you sure this gon’ work, Ms. Harriet?,” the slave asks Tubman. “This our only chance to getting freedoms,” she replies. “You know I have a dark sense of humor but even Ize, oops I mean I can’t laugh at this,” wrote Kevin Ross on radiofacts.com. (Kansas City Star)
Last month, Simmons and some fellow industry moguls launched All Def Music.
Def Jam co-founder, music mogul and social activist Russell Simmons, alongside film director/producer Brian Robbins (founder and president of Varsity Pictures, director of “Hardball,” “Varsity Blues”) and well-known music executive Steve Rifkind have partnered with Universal Music Group to launch All Def Music, a new “record” label whose sole focus is the promotion and development of artists via the medium of YouTube. Under the ADM umbrella, the partnership will also launch ADD Management. Rifkind has been named CEO of ADM and ADD Management. The launch was announced today in a statement from UMG. The official launch of All Def Music is a concerted push behind the YouTube network (and underlying model of) All Def Digital that Simmons launched last year through his company Rush Digital Media. (Billboard)