HBO is parting ways with the creator of its “All Def Comedy” series, including scrubbing Russell Simmons’ name from airings of the series, following an allegation of sexual assault. The series is set to premiere Friday.
The move comes after writer Jenny Lumet, the daughter of filmmaker Sidney Lumet, penned a guest column in The Hollywood Reporter in which she describes in detail what she says was a sexual assault by Simmons in about 1991.
In the wake of the column, Simmons stepped down today from his business empire.
People quotes a statement today from Simmons in which he says in part: “The voices of the voiceless, those who have been hurt or shamed, deserve and need to be heard. As the corridors of power inevitably make way for a new generation, I don’t want to be a distraction, so I am removing myself from the businesses that I founded. The companies will now be run by a new and diverse generation of extraordinary executives who are moving the culture and consciousness forward.”
HBO followed with its own action. THR quotes a spokesperson for HBO saying today: “HBO will be airing ‘All Def Comedy’ as planned. 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.”