Russell Simmons Interview Pulled From Revolt TV and Tidal After Backlash
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Given the wave of controversy surrounding Russell Simmon's appearance on The Breakfast Club radio earlier this month, many were surprised that the entrepreneur, who was accused of sexual assault or misconduct for at least 20 women, was featured on the podcast and the video series “Drink Champs,” which will be broadcast on Tidal and Revolt TV.
After a backlash from many online users, including some of these accusers - particularly Sil Lai Abrams, who accused Simmons of sexually assaulting her in 1994, and who appeared in the recent HBO documentary "On the Record" about the allegations against Simmons is - Tidal and Revolt TV removed the episode from their platforms, and most of the social media posts that promote them seem to have been deleted.
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"What the hell are Jay-Z and Tidal doing by giving Russell Simmons a platform to discuss #BlackLivesMatter?" she tweeted. "Why do people keep giving him a passport?"
"By quietly giving him an undisputed voice on their media platforms, they're making a big statement: Black survivors of sexual violence are an irrelevant victim of hip-hop," continued Abrams. “The most powerful black men in the industry are committed to defending Russell Simmons. They actively take a stand against black women. "
Earlier this month, she and many others popped The Breakfast Club radio because they showed Simmons in one episode and allowed him to silently allege him. She and others appeared in one episode with presenter Angela Yee.
Revolt TV and Tidal representatives did not immediately respond to Variety's requests for comments. However, the two companies do not program “drink champs” that started in 2015 and essentially act as distributors for the finished programs (the show signed a contract with Revolt in late 2016 and with Tidal last year). While Revolt and Tidal employees are likely to have discovered Simmons' name on the incoming show and tagged it before it aired, it is very unlikely that Jay-Z or Diddy would be involved in these decisions.
On Tuesday, "Drink Champs" is co-moderator of N.O.R.E. apologized for the episode and said he "didn't know exactly what was going on".
"I just wanted to bring together black men who are powerful for a powerful Convo! In the future I will be more aware of the guests and who and how they will be presented. “N.O.R.E. wrote in response to a tweet from the professor at Temple University and BET News presenter Marc Lamont Hill, who also appeared on the show, saying he was not informed that Simmons would be.
Abrams upset Hill in one of her tweets. "@Marclamonthill did you ask him about the multiple rape allegations against him ???"
Hill soon replied, "I stand by the women who have come forward to speak about Russell's sexual violence and I totally believe in it," he wrote. "I'm sorry I shared the room with someone who has done such damage without accountability. Although I had NO IDEA that he would be on, I'm still very sorry that I was part of it. "
@marclamonthill so I apologize for not knowing exactly what was going on !!! I just wanted to bring together black men who are powerful for a powerful Convo !!! In the future I will be more aware of the guests and who and how they will be presented !!!
1:48 - June 24, 2020
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