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Tidal, Revolt TV Pull Russell Simmons Episode of ‘Drink Champs’ Podcast Following Backlash

Most of the social media posts promoting the episode have also been taken down

Tidal and Revolt TV have pulled an episode of the podcast and video series “Drink Champs” following backlash over its inclusion of a new interview with Russell Simmons, the former record executive who has been accused of sexual assault and misconduct by 20 women.

As of Tuesday evening, the episode, posted earlier in the day, no longer appears on Tidal or Revolt TV, which produces the podcast and video series, and most of the social media posts promoting the episode have been taken down. Representatives for Tidal did not have a comment when reached by TheWrap, and representatives for Revolt TV, founded by Sean Combs, did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment.

Earlier in the day, “Drink Champs” co-host N.O.R.E. apologized for the episode, saying he hadn’t been “fully aware of what was going on” with Simmons, who has previously denied the sexual misconduct accusations against him. “I just wanted to put black men together who are powerful for a powerful convo !!! Moving forward I will be more aware of guests and who and how they are presented,” N.O.R.E. wrote on Twitter.

His comments came after domestic violence activist and writer Sil Lai Abrams — who was recently featured in the HBO Max documentary “On the Record,” which details some of the sexual assault accusations against Simmons — questioned on Twitter why Tidal, which is owned by Jay-Z, was giving Simmons a platform to discuss social justice issues and “whitewash” his legacy. She also pointed to how earlier this month, Simmons was a guest on the podcast and radio show “The Breakfast Club.”

“By quietly giving him an unchallenged voice on their media platforms they make a huge statement: Black survivors of sexual violence are an irrelevant casualty of hip hop,” Abrams tweeted. “The most powerful Black men in the industry are rallying to the defense of Russell Simmons. They are actively taking a stance AGAINST Black women.”

In a separate statement sent to TheWrap, Abrams added, “Twice is a pattern. It should not be incumbent upon survivors to continue to hold perpetrators accountable by policing media outlets.”

Shortly after Abrams spoke out, another guest on the show, Temple University professor and BET News host Marc Lamont Hill, said he wasn’t informed beforehand that Simmons would be on the show and that he had previously requested that Simmons’ portions not be aired.

“When the show was aired, Russell was not on it. I assumed that my request was honored. Today, I see a Part 2 was posted with his commentary included. I am beyond disappointed that this is the case,” Hill tweeted. “I stand with, and fully believe, the women who have come forward about Russell’s sexual violence. I am sorry that I shared space with someone who has caused such harm without accountability. Although I had NO IDEA he’d be on, I am nonetheless deeply sorry that I was a part of it.”

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