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Russell Simmons issues apology over offensive Harriet Tubman parody

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Aug 15, 2013 | 2:40pm EDT

Hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons has issued a formal apology to fans after causing controversy by sharing a parody sex tape video about African-American abolitionist Harriet Tubman on his YouTube.com page. The Def Jam Recordings co-founder was forced to speak out after the Harriet Tubman Sex Tape was posted on his All Def Digital channel on Wednesday (14Aug13). The clip, which Simmons called the "funniest thing I've ever seen", features an actress as Tubman, having sex with her white master as the dirty deed is taped so the activist can later bribe her boss into freeing his slaves. However, the parody sparked a backlash among followers of the channel over its sensitive subject matter, with one critic writing on NewsOne.com, "The implication is that the only way Ms. Tubman was able to free so many Black people was for her to sleep with their White plantation owners. I am not sure why anyone would think this would be funny, nor can I comprehend how any Black actor would agree to participate in such coonery." Simmons subsequently pulled the video from the website and on Thursday (15Aug13), he issued a statement expressing his remorse over his bad judgement. Taking to his GlobalGrind.com blog, he writes, "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."

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