Multimedia heavy hitter and social activist Russell Simmons has managed to ruffle the feathers of women worldwide. The highly successful entrepreneur is doing damage control after a very controversial YouTube video was posted by his company. The video is a parody featuring the famous abolitionist Harriet Tubman entitled 'Harriet Tubman Sex Tape'. The video features an actress who is engaging in sexual acts with her slave master while filming the deed in an effort to blackmail him into giving her her freedom papers. Although Simmons managed to see a humorous and creative parody by his staff, the internet has spoken and people are livid.
After the video went viral, Simmons was contacted by the national headquarters of the NAACP about his poor judgement. The video was immediately removed, but people are still very angry at his ability to poke fun at a very painful period in our nation's history. Simmons describes himself as "very liberal with very thick skin", and thus did not see the harm in the parody. Although he posted a public apology on his Global Grind website, people are still not ready to forgive. Journalists and Activists on Twitter insist that the public hold him accountable and not allow him to simply receive "a slap on the wrist" and then ride off into the sunset continuing to make millions after he has disappointed many of his very loyal fans.
Although starting out as a manager on the Hip Hop music circuit, and later on a serial entrepreneur, in recent years Simmons has positioned himself as a social activist and philanthropist speaking out against issues such as racism and poverty. It seems extremely ironic that a person who is so committed to issues of injustice would see humor in the video posted on his YouTube channel. Now being shunned by the public, many are questioning what this will do to the brand that he has established worldwide. Will people be willing to forgive Simmons for his poor discretion and still take him seriously as a social activist. There is no doubt that his team will now have to do some serious damage control to repair this moment of indiscretion. But the question is, how long will it take for the public to forgive? And what actions will his team have to take to repair the damage? As a highly successful entrepreneur who runs several companies it is interesting to see how Simmons could forget the importance of brand consistency. Simmons is affectionately known in some circuits as "Uncle Rush", so how could 'America's Uncle' support something so painful and degrading as a parody that presents a misogynistic view of women who were instrumental in black history. Simmons needs to decide if he wants to see dollars and "sense" or if he is truly committed to erasing the social ills and deep rooted pain many women (both black and white) have endured throughout our Nation's history. Looks like its time to clean house at Rush Enterprises.