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Russell Simmons found himself in the middle of a controversy last night (August 14). Just weeks after announcing his latest online property, a controversial video spoofing the life of iconic abolitionist Harriet Tubman was released, sparking a firestorm of angry responses. Simmons has since pulled the video and apologized.

The video, named the “Harriet Tubman Sex Tape,” was unleashed via Simmons’ new All Def Digital YouTube channel last night with the mogul saying in a deleted tweet that it was one of the funniest things he’s ever saw. The clip featured black and white actors in the roles, mimicking the vocal tones of slavery times and an uncomfortable sex scene meant to be humorous.

After pressure from a Change.org petition, leaders, and users on Twitter, The Def Jam co-founder and business mogul offered an apologty via Global Grind.

From Simmons:

“My first impression of the Harriet Tubman piece was that it was about what one of 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.”

In the wee hours of the night, Simmons tweeted, “I I guess I have a sensitivity chip missing. Lol. Haven’t been in trouble since defjam. Sorry if people r hurt” – appearing to be taking a light hearted approach to the matter. However, a quick look at Simmons’ Twitter timeline shows a fair engagement of support for his actions and critics talking sternly to him as well.

The actors and producers of the clip have not released an official statement as of yet. You can see the offending video for yourself on the next page.

Photo: Global Grind

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