Russell Simmons and the fallout from the sexual assault allegations that continue to dog the Def Jam Recordings co-founder has spilled over to his dealings with HBO. The cable network has removed Simmons’ name from the upcoming All Def Comedy series in light of what has come to public view in recent days.
“HBO will be airing All Def Comedy as planned,” the network said in a statement to Deadline. “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.”
Simmons has been under an overall deal with HBO since 2015, but his relationship with premium cabler dates back to 1992, when he co-created Def Comedy Jam, the landmark series that helped discover Jamie Foxx, Chris Tucker, Martin Lawrence, Bernie Mac, Dave Chappelle, Kevin Hart and others. In 2002 Simmons launched the Peabody Award-winning Def Poetry Jam. HBO aired an All Def Comedy one-off special in November as part of Simmons’ overall deal, and picked up Simmons’ All Def Comedy stand-up series for a six-episode season to premiere in December.
Simmons has kept out of the public eye since announcing via a statement that he was stepping away from his various business holdings.