Amid Hip-Hop icon Russell Simmon’s recent accusations of sexual assault, HBO has distanced themselves from him by dropping him from All Def Comedy and removed his name from the upcoming series.
After recent accuser Jenny Lumet’s open letter to Simmons was published by The Hollywood Reporter, where she told her story of the incident, Simmons released a statement declaring that he will step down from his Def Jam empire and apologizes for the incident, despite having a different memory of the night with Lumet.
“I have been informed with great anguish of Jenny Lumet’s recollection about our night together in 1991. I know Jenny and her family and have seen her several times over the years since the evening she described. While her memory of that evening is very different from mine, it is now clear to me that her feelings of fear and intimidation are real. While I have never been violent, I have been thoughtless and insensitive in some of my relationships over many decades and I sincerely apologize.”
He then added, “This is a time of great transition. The voices of the voiceless, those who have been hurt or shamed, deserve and need to be heard. As the corridors of power inevitably make way for a new generation, I don’t want to be a distraction so I am removing myself from the businesses that I founded. The companies will now be run by a new and diverse generation of extraordinary executives who are moving the culture and consciousness forward. I will convert the studio for yogic science into a not-for-profit center of learning and healing. As for me, I will step aside and commit myself to continuing my personal growth, spiritual learning and above all to listening.”
From there, HBO released a statement announcing the longtime partner, Simmons’s removal from All Def Comedy, but will continue to air the series as planned.
“HBO will be airing All Def Comedy as planned,” they stated. “However, Russell Simmons will not appear in the new series and we will be removing his name from the show moving forward. The series is a platform for promising and upcoming comedians and we do not want to deprive them of an opportunity to showcase their talents to a national audience. We have no other projects with Russell Simmons.”
Russell Simmons and HBO have worked together for over two decades as HBO featured landmark shows such as Def Comedy Jam and Def Poetry Jam.