American hip-hop mogul and activist Russell Simmons apologize Friday afternoon for comparing alleged abuse to animals to the burning of Jews in ovens during the Holocaust.
Here’s a rule everybody knows but people keep forgetting: Never liken the Holocaust or slavery to anything but…the actual Holocaust or actual slavery. “Slavery was fine”, Mr. Simmons said, according to the Wall Street Journal. “There are all kinds of ethnic cleansing, people for it”.
“It’s a Holocaust”, he added bluntly.
Abraham H. Foxman, the National Director of the ADL and a Holocaust survivor, said he thought Simmons’ comparison was “outrageous, offensive and insensitive”.
Representatives of the animal rights group NYCLASS who invited Simmons to try out their “horseless carriage” stood around him with signs that read, “18 months & waiting, Mayor de Blasio”.
“The promises you made matter”, Simmons warned de Blasio. You got in office because we put you there.
Simmons is also a longtime supporter of de Blasio, but he said at the Thursday event the mayor should hurry up and do something about the horse carriages – or suffer political consequences. “We put you in, and we can take you out”.
Simmons’ inflammatory rhetoric offended New York Councilman David Greenfield, a Brooklyn Democrat who is the grandson of Holocaust victims. “Mr. Simmons doesn’t help his cause when he engages in outrageous hyperbole that minimizes the murder of much of my grandparents’ family”.
Simmons told the newspaper he wouldn’t be apologizing but he did not intend to offend the Jewish community.
“I’m not anxious about it”, he said after an unrelated news conference in the Bronx. He continued, “That is the ongoing suffering of the 100 billion animals who are born to suffer unimaginable atrocities every year”.
He later tweeted apologetically, contending that he is a lifelong opponent of anti-Semitism.