ADL Outraged at Russell Simmons’ Holocaust and Slavery Comparison

New York, NY, July 17, 2015 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today voiced outrage at comments by hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons comparing animal abuse to slavery and the Holocaust.

In remarks at an event advocating for a ban on horse-drawn carriages in New York City, Mr. Simmons said, “There were people for slavery, remember.  Slavery was fine.  There were people who put people in ovens.  There are all kinds of ethnic cleansing, people for it.”

Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director and a Holocaust survivor, issued the following statement:

The comparison of animal suffering to that of human suffering in the Holocaust and in slavery is outrageous, offensive and insensitive.

We would have expected better. As someone who has worked with the Jewish community and should be sensitized to these issues, Russell Simmons should know better than to use inappropriate comparisons to the Holocaust or slavery, particularly in New York City, which is home to the largest Jewish community in the U.S., as well as to Holocaust survivors and a large African-American community.

We are even more disappointed to read that Simmons has expressed no regret for his remarks. I believe he owes an apology to the Jewish and African-American communities. The murder of six million Jews and millions of others who perished in the Holocaust, and the many millions who suffered under slavery, should never be used to make a political point.


ADL is the world’s leading anti-hate organization. Founded in 1913 in response to an escalating climate of anti-Semitism and bigotry, its timeless mission is to protect the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment for all. Today, ADL continues to fight all forms of hate with the same vigor and passion. A global leader in exposing extremism, delivering anti-bias education, and fighting hate online, ADL is the first call when acts of anti-Semitism occur. ADL’s ultimate goal is a world in which no group or individual suffers from bias, discrimination or hate.