Music Mogul Russell Simmons Apologizes for Comparing NYC Horse Carriages to Holocaust
Hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons apologized on Friday for comparing the use of horse-drawn carriages in New York City to the persecution of Jews during the Holocaust and the historic enslavement of blacks.
“Never meant to offend some members of Jewish community with my comments about abuse of animals. Will use term ‘mass murder’ moving forward,” he wrote on Twitter. “Made it my lifelong mission to combat anti-semitism + would never want to offend those I love.”
The New York Observer reported first on Simmons’ offending remarks made on Thursday outside City Hall, where he was advocating a ban on the use of the horse-drawn carriages in NYC.
“There were people for slavery, remember? Almost everybody. Slavery was fine,” he said. “There were people who put people in ovens. There are all kinds of ethnic cleansing, people for it.”
When reporters asked Simmons at the time if he actually believed animal abuse is equivalent to the Holocaust, the activist did not back down.
“You’re asking me, do I think that people who are unconscious to the suffering they cause to 100 billion animals–the worst holocaust in the history of humankind, the suffering of animals, the abuse of animals, and yes you’re all guilty in my opinion,” he said.
Simmons’ remarks were roundly condemned by the Anti-Defamation League’s retiring director Abraham Foxman, a Holocaust survivor himself, who said on Friday that the comparison between animal suffering and the human suffering of slavery and the Holocaust is “outrageous, offensive and insensitive.”
Foxman said Simmons should know better than to use the “inappropriate comparisons,” particularly in New York City, which is home to the largest Jewish community in the U.S. Foxman asserted that the slaying of 6 million Jews in the Holocaust and the suffering of millions of black slaves “should never be used to make a political point.”