Russell Simmons: RushCard, OWS Pose No Conflict
Music mogul Russell Simmons struck back at critics who accuse him of speaking with a forked tongue in his support of the Occupy Wall Street movement while pedaling his prepaid credit card, according to Huffington Post Black Voices.
While Simmons purports to be a proponent of the movement, critics accuse him of making money off the backs of some 99 percenters with his RushCard, which charges exorbitant usage fees, Trymaine Lee writes:
"He is officially part of the one percent," said Ryan Mack, president of the Optimum Institution for Economic Empowerment and one of the RushCard's most vocal critics. "You can go down and chant all you want. But when you are home, and you have a product that pimps the 99 percent, how can you justify chanting during the day but your actions at night are out of line?"
Mack provided a detailed account of the fees incurred by RushCard users on a recent blog. Simmons has also been publicly called to task during a recent Occupy Wall Street protest.
But Simmons hit back in a truculent open letter to critics, saying, "The oldest trick in the book of dirty political tactics and smear campaigns is to attack the supporters of a group by using misdirection, and even lying about someone's motives," Simmons wrote in the letter also obtained by The Root. "This is happening to me for my support of the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement and its related offshoots around the country. Quite honestly, I wear it as a badge of honor. It means the movement is hitting a nerve, and that some in power are scared."
Simmons is a longtime philanthropist who has been one of the most vocal and consistent supporters of the OWS movement. He should be applauded, not denigrated, for his support. While he was shelling out money to help feed protesters, other 1 percenters were waiting for them to be swept away by the police.
Read more at Huffington Post Black Voices.