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Revolt TV & Tidal Face Backlash After Inviting Russell Simmons to Black Lives Matter Discussion

REVOLT TV and TIDAL are facing scrutiny after fans lambasted the companies for incorporating Russell Simmons in a new Drink Champs episode discussing the importance of Black Lives Matter. 

On Tuesday (June 24), author Sil Lai Abrams — who accused Simmons of allegedly raping her in 1994 — questioned TIDAL and REVOLT’s decision to give the mogul a platform after multiple sexual assault allegations against him surfaced in 2018. TIDAL’s promotional tweet for the program caught Abrams’s attention and caused her to issue a flurry of tweets slamming Jay-Z and Diddy for their alliance with Simmons.

“What in the entire hell are Jay-Z and Tidal doing by giving Russell Simmons a platform to discuss #BlackLivesMatter?” she tweeted. “Why do people continue to give him a pass? @marclamonthill did you ask him about the multiple rape allegations against him???”

Abrams repeatedly sacked the hip-hop luminaries for aiding Russell in avoiding accountability and whitewashing his legacy with their unyielding support. “There is *absolutely* an underground movement by powerful Black men in music to help Russell avoid accountability and whitewash his legacy,” she said. “The Breakfast Club airs on Puffy’s Revolt network. Tidal is owned by Jay Z. Both platforms have had Russell Simmons on talking about social justice issues despite the allegations of sexual violence and harassment he has engaged in for decades. All 3 men are Black music moguls.”

This month, Simmons spoke out on the allegations against him after the airing of HBO’s documentary On The Record. “Back then, I thought it was a game. There were no Black actresses that I didn’t date, and they’re my friends today,” Simmons said during his interview with The Breakfast Club. “They don’t have the experience of me being a monster; the movie makes me out to be.” 

TIDAL has since removed the promotional tweet, and REVOLT will not air the episode, Billboard can confirm.

Marc Lamont Hill — who was on the panel with Simmons on Drink Champslater tweeted about Simmons’ appearance and said that he “froze” upon his entry into the panel. He also apologized for not speaking out against Simmons. “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.”

Billboard reached out to reps for TIDAL and REVOLT for comment.

Check out Abrams’ tweets below.

There is *absolutely* an underground movement by powerful Black men in music to help Russell avoid accountability and whitewash his legacy.

— Sil Lai “Scrappy” Abrams (@Sil_Lai) June 23, 2020

The Breakfast Club airs on Puffy’s Revolt network.

Tidal is owned by Jay Z.

Both platforms have had Russell Simmons on talking about social justice issues despite the allegations of sexual violence and harassment he has engaged in for decades.

All 3 men are Black music moguls.

— Sil Lai “Scrappy” Abrams (@Sil_Lai) June 23, 2020

Jay Z and Puff won’t stand up for Russell via public statements but they are still rape apologists. 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.

— Sil Lai “Scrappy” Abrams (@Sil_Lai) June 23, 2020

This redemption campaign of Russell Simmons enabled by other media moguls like Jay Z, 50 Cent, and Puffy must be called out.

Anyone who aids Russell in his quest to avoid being held accountable for his actions against Black women is complicit & should ALSO be held accountable.

— Sil Lai “Scrappy” Abrams (@Sil_Lai) June 23, 2020

What we have witnessed w/@breakfastclubam & @Tidal is why there hasn’t been a peep about the rampant gender violence in hip hop. 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

— Sil Lai “Scrappy” Abrams (@Sil_Lai) June 23, 2020

It appears @tidal has taken down the promo tweet with Russell Simmons. If anyone can rip it from Twitter that would be great. Screenshot is here for posterity’s sake to show that Black media moguls don’t give a damn about Black women pic.twitter.com/AT1NHaVZXn

— Sil Lai “Scrappy” Abrams (@Sil_Lai) June 23, 2020

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