Russell Simmons Embattled in New York Governor’s Race
The campaign for governor in the state of New York turned progressively ugly over the weekend. Republican candidate Carl Paladino, visiting rabbis in Brooklyn, made a series of anti-gay slurs, claiming that children are "brainwashed" into a homosexuality. As he attempts to clarify and backtrack, his campaign doesn't seem to worried because they have proof that challenger and Democrat nominee Andrew Cuomo is anti-Semitic as well. Paladino's big bombshell is that Cuomo is friends with Russell Simmons and once took a trip to Palestine.
In a binder of anti-Cuomo literature that was obtained by the New York Post, Paladino's campaign highlights Simmons' apparent ties to Nation of Islam-leader Louis Farrakhan as proof of prejudice towards Jewish people. This claim goes against Simmons' entire reputation. He's actually been an activist against anti-Semitism, a renowned Buddhist and peacenik for nearly his entire career.
"Cuomo names Russell Simmons, a supporter of anti-Semite Louis Farrakhan, a 'senior black advisor' to his campaign," the document says. It goes on to craft an attack that because the super-successful hip-hop entrepreneur hosted Farrakhan and his sons at his home in lower Manhattan last year, he must somehow be prejudiced.
"Paladino had a premeditated plan to disseminate false and vicious rumors," responded Cuomo spokesperson John Vlasto. "His hypocrisy knows no bounds as he falsely tries to smear someone as anti-Semitic when he himself refers to a Jewish elected official as a Hitler and an antichrist. That's why Paladino's campaign is being called one of the dirtiest in the country."
Simmons was last in the public eye for using the windows of his Ground Zero-facing penthouse for a public art piece encouraging religious tolerance.