Russell Simmons Apologizes for Harriet Tubman 'Sex Tape'

Def Jam co-founder pulls controversial comedy video

August 15, 2013 11:55 AM ET
Russell Simmons
Russell Simmons
Jason Merritt/Getty Images

Russell Simmons' newly launched All Def Digital channel on YouTube has already encountered a bump in the road. The Def Jam co-founder has pulled a controversial comedy video titled "Harriet Tubman Sex Tape" from his new property after his "buddies from the NAACP called."

The video in question features an actress portraying the famous abolitionist. In the clip, the fake Tubman has sex with her "massa" so he'll allow her to operate the Underground Railroad, according to USA Today. Simmons issued an apology on his Global Grind website, noting he's "never taken down a controversial comedian" in the history of his former HBO show, Def Comedy Jam.

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"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," Simmons wrote. "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."

He continued, "I would never condone violence against women in any form, and for all of those I offended, I am sincerely sorry."

The news comes just one day after Simmons announced All Def Digital, according to Billboard. He's also launching a label with YouTube and Universal Records called All Def Music, looking to develop and promote artists through the video-sharing website. Simmons has good reason to watch out for his comedy properties, as well: he inked a two-year development deal with HBO in May, reteaming with the home of Def Comedy Jam.

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