Jay-Z’s Tidal & Diddy’s Revolt Pull ‘Drink Champs’ Segment Featuring Russell Simmons

Sil Lai Abrams, Marc Lamont Hill, N.O.R.E., and Talib Kweli address the situation.

(AllHipHop News) Two weeks ago, Power 105.1’s The Breakfast Club caught heat for presenting an interview with Russell Simmons. N.O.R.E. and DJ EFN’s Drink Champs podcast also decided to have the accused rapist as a guest on an episode covering the #BlackLivesMatter movement.

Drink Champs was met with swift backlash online. Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter’s Tidal streaming service and Sean “Diddy” Combs’ Revolt network were also criticized for providing a platform for the former Def Jam executive who has multiple accusations of sexual assault leveled against him.

Journalist Sil Lai Abrams, one of Simmons’ accusers, posted on Twitter: 

What in the entire hell are Jay Z and @TIDAL doing by giving Russell Simmons a platform to discuss #BlackLivesMatter? Why do people continue to give him a pass? @marclamonthill did you ask him about the multiple rape allegations against him??? There is *absolutely* an underground movement by powerful Black men in music to help Russell avoid accountability and whitewash his legacy. 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. 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. 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. 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

Tidal did delete a tweet promoting Simmons’ appearance on Drink Champs. According to reports, the streamer also pulled the audio of the segment featuring Simmons from its library and the video version on Revolt TV does not contain his commentary either.

As of press time, neither Tidal nor Revolt have issued official statements addressing the concerns about the Simmons interview with Drink Champs. AllHipHop.com contacted respective representatives of both companies for comment but has yet to receive a response.

N.O.R.E did have other guests on the #BlackLivesMatter-themed show to talk about police violence, police reform, and systemic racism. One half of the Capone-N-Noreaga rap group spoke with author/professor Marc Lamont Hill as well as emcees/activists Mysonne, Bun B, and Talib Kweli.

Marc Lamont Hill issued the following statement on Twitter:

A few weeks ago, I appeared on Drink Champs. I was asked to join a discussion with Bun B, Talib Kweli, and Mysonne. About 2.5 hours into the show, Russell Simmons appeared. I had NO IDEA he was scheduled. I would NEVER have appeared if I had known. During Russell’s 20ish minutes on the show, I was texting the producers telling them that I was not comfortable with his [presence] and asking to wrap. After the show, I expressed my frustration with what happened. I also asked them not to air Russell’s portions. 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. 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.

In response, N.O.R.E. tweeted:

@marclamonthill yesssir u are correct we thought Russ wouldn’t come on! So when he did at the end it wasn’t brought up prior and I thought it was edited!!! @marclamonthill I wanna make [it] clear I didn’t tell u bout the last guest period cause we didn’t expect to have him!!! U didn’t know bout it and once u did u made it clear u was uncomfortable!!! @marclamonthill so I apologize for me not being fully aware of what was going on!!! 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!!!

Talib Kweli quote-tweeted Marc Lamont Hill and N.O.R.E. on Wednesday morning. The People’s Party podcaster wrote:

I also did not know Russell Simmons would be a part of this. I was surprised when he joined. Thank you [N.O.R.E] for stating this. The intentions were pure but when it comes to oppression intentions don’t matter, only results do. As I stated during the now pulled episode, I’d like to see a lot more women on Drink Champs. @Noreaga

Several of Simmons’ accusers, including Sil Lai Abrams, appeared in Amy Ziering and Kirby Dick’s #MeToo documentary On the Record. The 98-minute film is now streaming on HBO Max.

On the Record was engulfed in controversy after Oprah Winfrey ended her association with the doc because of what the media mogul viewed as “inconsistencies” in the account of Drew Dixon, a former A&R executive that alleged she was victimized by  Simmons. Despite those concerns, Winfrey said she “still believed” Dixon. 

Russell Simmons has repeatedly denied all accusations of rape, sexual assault, sexual misconduct, and sexual harassment. The 62-year-old entertainment businessman claims any sexual contact he may have had with women was always consensual.