sexual harassment

Joe Budden Apologizes After Olivia Dope Says He Sexually Harassed Her On-Air

Photo-Illustration: by Vulture; Photos by Getty Images

Joe Budden has apologized to DJ Olivia Dope after she accused him of sexually harassing her during a recording of See, The Thing Is, the women-led podcast that she previously hosted on his network. “I apologize sincerely to Olivia, her former co-hosts, our staff, and the public. In an effort to not further any trauma, the episode will be removed from all platforms,” Budden said in a statement obtained by Rolling Stone. “We support all women’s rights to feel comfortable and protected in the workplace. We fell short of that in this instance.” He added that both he and the Joe Budden Network take accountability for the way his words and power created an “upsetting environment.”

On May 17, Dope uploaded an Instagram video explaining that she left the podcast and the network after Budden’s behavior on a January 2021 episode of See, The Thing Is, in which he “continuously made sexual, suggestive remarks to me that made me extremely uncomfortable, as well as fearful of dampening the mood if I didn’t laugh along.” She describes moments from the recording — some edited out and some left in — that were part of what she called a traumatizing experience. She said Budden made multiple comments about wanting to sleep with her, said he thought they were going to be a network power couple, and described her as carrying the group of hosts because of a sexier outfit. Dope added that she was apprehensive about an on-air hug Budden wanted to give her to lighten the mood, and only saw later that he was moving his hips during the embrace. After the recording, she said she felt pressured to say she was fine with leaving in moments when Budden made passes at her. Near the end of her Instagram video, she recommended that any woman thinking about working with Budden reconsider. “One of the most difficult things I’ve ever had to express in my life,” she wrote on Twitter shortly after posting the Instagram video. “The healing begins now.”

Budden’s statement expressed support for Olivia’s path to healing, applauded her for finding the strength to share her experience, and wished her the best in her career. “I am taking the time to listen and learn; we have already begun to make the necessary changes to ensure this is a safe environment for all moving forward,” he wrote. “We at the network endeavor to continue to elevate Black women’s voices and create opportunities to have constructive conversations to impact change.”

Joe Budden Apologizes After Olivia Dope Says He Harassed Her