HBO has distanced itself from Russell Simmons following multiple sexual-assault allegations against the mogul. The network announced that while his All Def Comedy series will premiere as planned on Friday, he’ll no longer be attached to it. “Russell Simmons will not appear in the new series and we will be removing his name from the show moving forward,” HBO said in a statement. “We have no other projects with Russell Simmons.” Simmons had a first-look deal with HBO, which he used to revive his influential Def Comedy Jam series, though it now appears that deal is dead. Simmons also recently released a Def Comedy Jam 25th anniversary special through Netflix. His name remains attached to the project, and he can be seen in crowd reaction shots, as well as onstage with the comedians in the show’s finale.
Simmons has stepped down from his various companies, including Def Jam Records, following a new sexual-assault accusation from screenwriter Jenny Lumet. “While I have never been violent, I have been thoughtless and insensitive in some of my relationships over many decades and I sincerely apologize,” he said in a statement. He previously denied a similar accusation from model Keri Claussen Khalighi, though she said he has apologized to her in private.