HBO is distancing itself from Russell Simmons in light of the sexual assault allegations surrounding the music mogul.
“HBO will be airing All Def Comedy as planned,” the network said in a statement. “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.” HBO added that “we have no other projects with Russell Simmons.”
Simmons is currently facing a number of accusations of sexual assault, including one from screenwriter Jenny Lumet, who told The Hollywood Reporter a harrowing tale of Simmons assaulting her in 1991. Simmons has taken a leave of absence from his businesses following the accusations, stating that he will “commit myself to continuing my personal growth, spiritual learning and above all, to listening.”
All Def Comedy is a revival of the original Def Comedy Jam, a groundbreaking showcase for African-American comedians that debuted on HBO back in 1992 with Simmons as creator and producer. The new All Def Comedy — sans Simmons — debuts this Friday at 10/9c on HBO.