LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — One of hip-hop’s most influential executives issued an apology Thursday for releasing a video depicting famous abolitionist Harriet Tubman having sexual relations with her “slave master.”
Def Jam CEO Russell Simmons pulled the video from his All Def Digital YouTube channel after claiming he was contacted by his “buddies” from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) to remove the roughly three-and-a-half minute “Harriet Tubman Sex Tape” parody.
In the video, actress Shanna Malcol portrays Tubman and seduces her white “Massa” while a fellow slave records the act from a nearby closet as part of a blackmail plot to ultimately start the Underground Railroad.
One scene even includes mock “vintage” video footage graphically depicting Tubman engaged in sexual acts with the slave master.
Simmons said in his apology the decision to remove the video was a first in a career that spans over three decades.
“My first impression of the Harriet Tubman piece was that it was about what one of (sic) actors said in the video, that 162 years later, there’s still tremendous injustice,” he said in a statement. “And with Harriet Tubman outwitting the slave master? I thought it was politically correct. Silly me.”
Fans on Twitter and other social media networks were blasting the decision to even produce the video.
Just Saw Russell Simmons Produced Skit "HARRIET TUBMAN SEXTAPE.I Ask Why Do We Desecrate Our Ancestors?Why Do We Hate Ourselves?QUESTION???—
Spike Lee (@SpikeLee) August 15, 2013
whats sad is everyone went off on paula deen and the N word yet people are laughing at Russell Simmons for making a joke of our culture—
Noble D-Vyne (@DhaNobleWon) August 15, 2013
Simmons, who along with Rick Rubin founded the pioneering hip-hop label Def Jam in 1983, is considered one of the wealthiest figures in hip-hop with an estimated net worth of $340 million as recently as 2011.