Music

Revolt TV And Tidal Are Being Criticized For Inviting Russell Simmons To A Black Lives Matter Discussion

Earlier today, Revolt TV was embroiled in a lighthearted beef with Eminem over a line from a Conway single, but now, Diddy’s media venture is seemingly getting backlash from most of Twitter for recently hosting controversial media figure Russell Simmons on its Drink Champs podcast during a discussion about the Black Lives Matter movement. Jay-Z’s Tidal, which hosted the discussion, also came under fire.

The discussion, which also included academic Marc Lamont Hill and rappers Bun B, Mysonne, and Talib Kweli, drew negative attention on Twitter after Tidal’s official account posted a promotional tweet with a preview of the panel responding to host N.O.R.E.’s question about police officers “beating the case” against them for the recent death of George Floyd. Author Sil Lai Abrams, who accused Russell Simmons in 2018 of raping her in 1994, questioned the mogul’s presence on the panel, writing, “What in the entire hell are Jay-Z and Tidal doing by giving Russell Simmons a platform to discuss #BlackLivesMatter?”

Abrams followed up with a tweet accusing “powerful Black men in music” of using their power to protect Simmons and “whitewash his legacy.” “Jay Z and Puff won’t stand up for Russell via public statements but they are still rape apologists,” she continued. ” By quietly giving him an unchallenged voice on their media platforms they make a huge statement: Black survivors of sexual violence are an irrelevant casualty of hip-hop.”

Tidal’s account deleted the tweet, but as of this post, the episode remains live on the streaming service itself. Since the tweet went up, a number of Twitter users have expressed concerns about having Simmons on Drink Champs, as well as questioning why the other guests apparently didn’t comment.

Hill himself posted a thread explaining his reaction, saying he “froze” in the moment and wasn’t advised Simmons would appear. According to Hill, “About 2.5 hours into the show, Russell Simmons appeared. I had NO IDEA he was scheduled. I would NEVER have appeared if I had known.” Hill also insists that when the first half of the discussion originally went live, it did not include Simmons and he assumed Simmons’ segment had been cut. He maintains that he “fully believes the women who have come forward about Russell’s sexual violence. I am sorry that I shared space with someone who has caused such harm without accountability. Although I had NO IDEA he’d be on, I am nonetheless deeply sorry that I was a part of it.”

Simmons was accused of sexual assault by multiple women in 2018, stepping down from the management of his businesses, and denying the charges against him repeatedly. The accusations have since become the subject of a documentary series detailing the accusations and subsequent investigations against him — a documentary producer Oprah says he pressured her to kill.

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