Russell Simmons Apologizes For 'Harriet Tubman Sex Tape'
Russell Simmons has apologized for a parody video that no one asked for: "Harriet Tubman Sex Tape."
The video was posted Wednesday on Simmons' new YouTube channel, and he called it the "funniest thing I’ve ever seen." It features abolitionist and Underground Railroad hero Harriet Tubman plotting with a fellow to slave to make a covert sex tape with her white "massa." Tubman and her master go at it while her co-conspirator hide in a closet. The idea is that she will use the tape as blackmail to gain her freedom and start the Underground Railroad.
Not everyone thought it was as funny as Simmons. Salon wrote, "At best Simmons is utterly clueless about the realities of Black female victimization during slavery; at worst, he’s a willfully ignorant misogynist who delights in minimizing the pain of slavery and rape for Black women." A change.org petition was drafted, asking Simmons to take it down. The NAACP didn't release a statement, but they did call him up and asked him to take the video down. He obliged, and later tweeted out, "I guess I have a sensitivity chip missing."
He released a statement explaining why he thought the video would fly and he apologized:
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.
There's more where this came from: the "Harriet Tubman Sex Tape" was supposed to be the first in a series of history-themed comedy sketches on Simmons' channel All Def Digital, according to the Kansas City Star.You can still watch the video here: