Russell Simmons Apologizes for ‘Harriet Tubman Sex Tape’ Video
Russell Simmons is a hip-hop mogul, a yoga enthusiast and the man who founded music industry juggernaut Def Jam. What he is not, apparently, is a man with a good sense of humor. A tone deaf and offensive video called the ‘Harriet Tubman Sex Tape’ released through Simmons’ All Def Digital YouTube channel is proof of that.
Last night (Aug. 14) Simmons tweeted a link to the controversial video that depicts the beloved abolitionist and slave liberator Harriet Tubman as woman who uses sex to persuade a slave master to allow her to build the Underground Railroad. (It seems that writers of the poorly-received skit believe that the Underground Railroad was a an actual, literal railroad that had to be built.)
After he tweeted the link to his nearly 3 million followers the negative reactions to the video were immediate with viewers taking offense to the video’s stereotypical portrayal of African Americans, the trivialization of rape, and the characterization of Tubman as a sassy, N-word spewing mammy who trades sex for freedom.
In the aftermath of the backlash against the clip Simmons has since removed it from Youtube and made half-hearted apologies on Twitter:
I guess I have a sensitivity chip missing. Lol. Haven’t been in trouble since defjam. Sorry if people r hurt
— Russell Simmons (@UncleRUSH) August 15, 2013
And on his own Global Grind website:
In the whole history of Def Comedy Jam, I’ve never taken down a controversial comedian. 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.
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.
Watch the video in question below and tell us if you think Russell’s apologies are enough.