There are two things I don’t play about: crab legs and the mistreatment of Black women. So when a Black woman comes forward with serious allegations about an unsafe work environment, I’m all ears. Because unlike a lot of folks when it comes to their favorite celebrities and public figures, accountability is kind of a big deal to me. As such, I want no parts in supporting anybody whose success comes at the expense or marginalization of Black women.
No thanks. Fuck that.
Now that I’ve made that abundantly clear, rapper-turned-media personality Joe Budden has spent the past week or so waiting for the self-destruction sequence on his career to time out. He’s fired both of his long-standing co-hosts on popular The Joe Budden Podcast, he’s been accused of shady business practices by those same individuals, and he’s been called out by Kevin Hart for his abysmal leadership.
But on Monday, DJ Olivia Dope raised the stakes by accusing the Love and Hip-Hop alum of something far more destructive—and sinister: sexual harassment.
In a 20 minute confessional on Instagram, Dope detailed her exodus from See, the Thing Is, a show on the Joe Budden Podcast Network, and attributed it to Budden’s inability to remain professional at the workplace, more specifically, the sexual harassment she endured under his stewardship.
“I am doing this video today to finally explain my departure from the See, the Thing Is podcast as well as the Joe Budden Network,” she begins. “I sat with this for three months, anxiously debating with myself if I feel comfortable enough to express my reasoning for my departure.”
She continued, “I am here today, still uncomfortable, but I find the bravery to speak out on a very embarrassing situation. On Jan. 18, 2021, Joe Budden sat in on a recording of the female-led podcast I was a part of and 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 while he made sexual remarks to me. Those moments not only live on the internet forever, it also forced me into the decision of quitting the podcast.”
Dope then goes on to provide timestamps of the podcast episode in question and details instances in which the Slaughterhouse rapper demonstrated inappropriate behavior.
“It was traumatizing, embarrassing and I’ve decided that I have to actually speak up because not only was it important for me to walk away from it, it also is important for me to speak up to let others know this probably wouldn’t be the best situation for you to enter into, working with this person,” she says. “Why I quit the Joe Budden Network. Episode 16 of See, The Thing Is was the final straw of three months on the JBN. It took a lot to get to this point to speak up, but the healing begins now.”
According to Dope, at the 14:34 mark, “There’s an editing in the recording because Joe says him and I should speak more because he ‘been wanting to fuck me since we’ve met.’ Everyone in the studio laughs uncomfortably while one of my co-hosts confirmed that to be true.”
She continued, “I am mortified by this revelation not only because it was done in front of the entire production staff, but it was done while we were recording audio as well as visual. That scene was cut out and it jumps to Joe repeating we should speak more because we have the least dialogue.”
Pointing to 19:26, she notes: “Another edit happens because Joe makes another suggestion to having sex with me. What is shown right after that is me closing my eyes, saying ‘no’ and then he says, ‘Never mind.’”
She adds, “Joe makes a comment that I am throwing my singleness in his face. And he thought we were going to be a ‘network power couple.’ Once again, I’m trying to laugh all of this off.”
Later in the episode, Budden continues to make inappropriate comments before asking for an uncomfortable on-air hug that played out as such:
You can see Dope trying her best to smile and laugh through this demoralizing encounter, but it wasn’t until she watched the clip afterward that she realized that Budden was also gyrating his hips while hugging her.
“It’s unbeknownst to me until I actually watch back the episode that he was moving his hips while he was hugging me,” she says.
Dope then explains that after she decided to remove herself from the situation, Budden continued to make inappropriate comments about her.
“Once I decided to quit, I informed my lawyer. My lawyer got on the phone with his lawyer and informed them that these are the reasons my client is leaving this network,” she says. “I then informed my castmates via text that I am not built for the Joe Budden Network. No one responded in that moment and I was removed from the group chat. But I did speak to both of them a week after. Also, after my departure, Joe then went on his podcast and made this statement: ‘If I hire any women, I’m going to want to fuck them bitches.’”
Ultimately, Dope says she came forward in order to “start my healing process because if I sit and let this fester inside of me for any longer, I will not be good.”
Budden has yet to respond to Dope’s allegations publicly, but as of the time of this article, his reps have yet to respond to The Root’s request for comment.
The Root also reached out to Dope, but she has yet to respond to our request for comment.
Updated, 12:50 p.m. EDT, Tuesday, May 18, 2021:
Reps for Joe Budden have not responded to The Root’s request for comment, but in light of these allegations, he issued the following statement to Rolling Stone:
“As a podcaster, it is my job to address topics and create dialogue around them. During the conversation on the See, The Thing Is podcast I didn’t handle the topics with the sensitivity they deserved. I recognize my words and power in that situation created an upsetting environment for Olivia. Upon reflection, both the network and I take accountability for this. 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.
“We support all women’s rights to feel comfortable and protected in the workplace. We fell short of that in this instance. We support Olivia in her quest to heal, applaud her for finding the strength to share her experience, and wish her the best in all her future endeavors. 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. We at the network endeavor to continue to elevate Black women’s voices and create opportunities to have constructive conversations to impact change.”