Kerfuffle Watch: Russell Simmons pulls ‘Harriet Tubman Sex Tape’ amid complaints

Senior Editor
08.15.13 13 Comments

Media mogul, reality TV star, and famous lisp-haver Russell Simmons ith in hot water today, after pulling an attempted comedy video called “Harriet Tubman Sex Tape” from his new YouTube Channel All Def Digital, following complaints from a variety of blogs and even, Simmons says, the NAACP. The sketch video depicted underground railroad hero Harriet Tubman seducing her slavemaster so she could make a sex tape to blackmail him with. Jeez, who knew interracial rape humor was such a controversial topic?

Simmons, in a statement posted on the pop culture website, said he had been contacted by “buddies” from the NAACP, who asked him to take the video down.

“In the whole history of Def Comedy Jam, I’ve never taken down a controversial comedian,” Simmons wrote. “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.”

He continued: “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. 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.” [LA Times]

All Def Digital, incidentally, is a joint venture between Simmons and the DreamWorks Animation-owned AwesomenessTV. I guess they’re both good at RAISING EYEBROWS, am I right? (*slips on banana peel*)

You can watch the actual video below, until it gets taken down.

So, like a Chappelle Show sketch, only not funny. Or at least, much less funny than that Frederick Douglass Instagrams A Massive Dump He Just Took video I made a few weeks back.

On the one hand, it’s about Harriet Tubman outwitting her slavemaster. On the other, it draws an unfortunate parallel between Harriet Tubman and Kim Kardashian. Personally, flawed as it is, I see what the idea of the joke was supposed to be, and I find it less offensive than, say, the idea that Russell Simmons was showing up to Occupy Wall Street protests while promoting his own line of predatory debit cards. But as long as we can all agree that Russell Simmons is kind of a dill weed, I’m okay with that.

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