Russell Simmons apologizes for Harriet Tubman 'sex tape'
Hip hop magnate and Def Jam co-founder Russell Simmons apologized on Thursday for a controversial sex tape parody of African-American slave-turned-abolitionist Harriet Tubman that appeared on a Def Jam YouTube channel.
In an apology posted on Simmons' Global Grind website, the businessman said he was asked to take down the video by the NAACP civil rights organization.
"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 the 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," Simmons said in a statement.
The three-minute video posted on the All Def Digital YouTube page on Wednesday featured a parody of Tubman performing sex acts with a white slave owner while another slave filmed them from a closet, to leverage freedom for slaves.
Simmons posted the link to the video on his Twitter page on Wednesday, with the caption "Funniest thing I've ever seen Harriet Tubman sex diaries." There was a backlash within hours on social media as people criticized the parody for distorting Tubman's legacy and making a mockery of slave rape.
Tubman was born into slavery in 1820 and later escaped.
In his apology on Thursday, Simmons said, "I would never condone violence against women in any form, and for all of those I offended, I am sincerely sorry."