• Petitioned Russell Simmons / All Def Digital

This petition was delivered to:

Good Will Ambassador to U.N. Permanent Memorial for Victims of Slavery
Russell Simmons / All Def Digital

Remove and Apologize for "Harriet Tubman Sextape"

    1. Petition by

      Crystal Fleming

      New York, NY

  1.  
  2.   
August 2013

Victory

Crystal Fleming: A few minutes ago, Russell Simmons released a statement apologizing for the video, which was also removed by All Def Digital.

Rape is not a joke, nor is the sexual violation of African American women by enslavers a punchline. Russell Simmons should remove the video and apologize for contributing to rape culture and the denigration of women, African Americans and our enslaved ancestors.

Recent signatures

    News

    1. Moving Forward

      Crystal Fleming
      Petition Organizer

      Change is a difficult thing to quantify. Sometimes our impact is visible and tangible -- but most of the time, we will never know the micro-level effects of our actions, not only in the lives of folks in our immediate circles, but also in the lives of those we influence by influencing those around us. Sociologists have shown that each individual has an enormous sphere of influence. Extending three degrees of separation -- from our friends to our friend's friends -- we each regularly touch the lives of about 10,000 people. I hope that this petition has shown you how powerful your voice is. But your voice is still powerful even when change.org and Twitter and MSNBC aren't around to amplify it.

      Finally, let's think more carefully about where we place our attention - the kinds of culture that we consume - and the social environments we create when we decide to support and reproduce demeaning images. Let us all make choices that will bring about the world we wish to see.

    2. Petition closed

      Crystal Fleming
      Petition Organizer

      In a little more than 24 hours, we received over 1,000 signatures. While many of the petition signers were African American women, we were also joined by a beautiful array of allies - including many African American men, white, Latino women and men and many others of diverse backgrounds in the U.S. and other countries who were similarly outraged by Simmons & ADD's actions.

      I hesitate to "declare victory", given all the work we must do to grow in compassion and respect for our fellow human beings - but this is an important step forward. Your voice was heard and referenced in over 100 news articles around the world, from MSNBC to Salon, Slate, Huffington Post and even the Daily Mail in Britain. Because of you - and the thousands of others who spoke out about this on social media - the video was removed and Russell Simmons was obliged to apologize. Even if we were not entirely satisfied with that apology, it is a step in the right direction.

    3. Reached 1,000 signatures
    4. The petition on The Root

      Crystal Fleming
      Petition Organizer
      'Harriet Tubman Sex Tape': Rape Is Not a Joke

      (The Root ) -- Just typing out the words seems like a betrayal: "Harriet Tubman Sex Tape." It's as bizarre and brutal as a sudden slap in the face. A spoof about a real-life American superhero voluntarily reducing herself to the antics of every other reality-show airhead? And someone thought this was "hilarious"?

    5. Petition picked up in NY Post

      Crystal Fleming
      Petition Organizer
      Russell Simmons apologizes for posting racy Harriet Tubman sex tape parody

      Hip hop pioneer Russell Simmons issued an apology Thursday for posting a Harriet Tubman sex tape parody on his All Def Digital Youtube channel. The video depicted the historical icon in an X-rated encounter with a slave owner.

    6. Petition featured on Jezebel

      Crystal Fleming
      Petition Organizer
      Russell Simmons Apologizes for Icky Harriet Tubman Sex Tape Video

      The founder of Def Jam and the former Mr. Kimora Lee Simmons apologized Thursday for releasing a video that depicted Harriet Tubman, the woman that freed the slaves, blackmailing her slave owner by secretly filming a sex tape with the two of them together.

    7. Suggested Readings on Women, Rape, Slavery and Violence

      Crystal Fleming
      Petition Organizer

      I urge all of us concerned about these issues to learn more about the intersections of gender, race and other axes of power. Here are just few excellent readings on the topics of women, race, slavery, sexual assault and post-slavery violence against blacks.

      - Angela Davis (1972) "Reflections on the Black Woman's Role in the Community of Slaves"

      -Crystal Feimster (2011): "Southern Horrors: Women and the Politics of Rape and Lynching"

      -Saidiya Hartman (1996): "Seduction and the Ruses of Power"

      -Koritha Mitchell (2012): "Living with Lynching:African American Lynching Plays, Performance and Citizenship"

      -Dorothy Roberts (1997): "Killing the black body : Race, Reproduction, and the Meaning of Liberty

      -Christina Sharpe (2010): "Monstrous Intimacies: Making Post-Slavery Subjects"

      Additionally, you might consider reading Ida B. Wells' pamphlets as well as "Six Women Slave Narratives" http://www.huemanbookstore.com/book/9780195060836

    8. We encourage you to keep circulating and signing the petition

      Crystal Fleming
      Petition Organizer

      While the video was officially removed and Simmons issued a brief (and highly problematic) apology, we would like to encourage you to continue supporting the petition to raise awareness.

      We call upon Russell Simmons to use this time as a moment of reflection and an opportunity to rise in consciousness around issues of rape culture, the dignity of women, Harriet Tubman's contributions and the history of Atlantic slavery. His apology and tweets suggest that he knows that he has lacked sensitivity in this matter and we hope that he - and indeed all of us - will grow in knowledge, wisdom and compassion as concerns the representation of women and the history of slavery.

      We also hope that Simmons will reach out to organizations committed to raising awareness about rape and violence against women, such as A Long Walk Home (www.alongwalkhome.org) and RAINN (www.rainn.org) and engage in direct conversations with women (and men) who have experienced the trauma of sexual assault.

    9. Russell Simmons no longer good will ambassador to UN for slavery

      Crystal Fleming
      Petition Organizer

      I just got off the phone w/ the office of the permanent mission of Jamaica at the UN. They confirmed that Russell Simmons is no longer a good will ambassador for the memorial to victims of slavery, although the woman I spoke with was not aware of precisely how long he has been inactive. I must say, I'm relieved..

    10. Reached 750 signatures
    11. I've contacted the UN re: Russell Simmons "good will" ambassadorship

      Crystal Fleming
      Petition Organizer

      Awaiting news confirming whether he is still active as a good will ambassador. Ambassador Raymond Wolfe of Jamaica was chair of the committee for the permanent memorial to victims of slavery. You can help by emailing and calling the office of the Permanent Mission of Jamaica - 212 935 7509; e-mail: Jamaica@un.int); or the Office of the Permanent Observer of the African Union (tel.: 212 319 5490)

      Please send me updates if you hear anything on Twitter: @alwaystheself

    12. Russell Simmons named "Good Will" Ambassador to UN for victims of slavery

      Crystal Fleming
      Petition Organizer

      In the process of campaigning against the video last night, it came to light that Russell Simmons is the "Good Will" ambassador to the UN for permanent memorial to victims of slavery. Warm thanks to Twitter user @true_majority for bringing this to my attention. http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2009/note6203.doc.htm

      It is unclear whether Simmons is still active in this role, but if he is, we think his position should be reconsidered by the UN. Regardless, the appalling nature of the entire situation is magnified by the irony. Please continue to get the word out about the petition so we can hold Simmons and All Def Digital accountable.

    13. Update: Russell Simmons apologizes!

      Crystal Fleming
      Petition Organizer

      A few minutes ago, Russell Simmons released this statement and apology: http://globalgrind.com/2013/08/15/i-get-it-and-i-respect-it-the-harriet-tubman-video-has-been-removed/#.UgxtPKk9HFI.twitter

      This is an important step and we are certain that the hundreds of signatures and comments here helped encourage this outcome. Thank you to everyone who mobilized so quickly -- please continue to sign the petition in order to clearly demonstrate our outrage with the video and the decision-making that led to its production and release.

    14. Reached 500 signatures
    15. Write the Director of Communications at All Def Digital to demand apology

      Crystal Fleming
      Petition Organizer

      GOOD NEWS - the video has been removed but our work is not done. Please contact acurtis@rushcommunications.com to demand a statement and apology for the production and dissemination of this shameful "parody" and contribution to rape culture.

    16. UPDATE! Video Removed by ADD - But No Statement or Apology

      Crystal Fleming
      Petition Organizer

      We are pleased to learn that the video has been removed from Youtube. However, neither ADD nor Russell Simmons have provided a statement or explanation for this appalling production. We believe that they owe the public an account and apology for what transpired.

    17. Reached 250 signatures

    Supporters

    Reasons for signing

    • Rudolph Looney PHILA, PA
      • 11 months ago

      The perpetuation of misogyny, objectification of women, and rape culture disrespects, limits and devalues the many strides for eqaulity between the sexes, that many have given their lives for. The disrespect of the woman, through whom, ALL life springs, damages us all. To treat the legacy of Mother Harriet Tubman, an ICON of African history, in such a manner is deplorable.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • James Groh AUSTIN, TX
      • 11 months ago

      Misogyny & rape, like racism are always wrong. African American history belongs to all Americans not just those of color and this is a base, degrading portrayal of an historic figure.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Spencer Brooks PHENIX CITY, AL
      • 11 months ago

      degrading

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Shari Lewis BRONX, NY
      • 11 months ago

      Russell Simmons is making a mockery of one of the strongest & bravest black women in History. Where is the humor in this garbage? Why would he do something so stupid? I have a great sense of humor but I didn't find this funny at all. I'm stunned! I never liked him anyway.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Mckinley Hughes OKLAHOMA CITY, OK
      • 11 months ago

      Because I'm tired of Libersls desecrating heroes and heroines for there own gain

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:

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