All Def Digital, the Hip-Hop and urban youth culture media company founded by Russell Simmons, is going through a major shakeup. According to reports All Def Digital is restructuring but is not folding, according to president and CEO Chris Blackwell.
Last week, citing anonymous sources, internet-video publication Tubefilter reported that All Def Digital was calling it quits after massive layoffs and that an unnamed business-advisory firm was “divvy[ing] up assets” of the company.
Reached via email, Blackwell denied that the company was closing its doors. “We are reorganizing the company in advance of a strategic deal.”
Simmons resigned from his leadership spot and from any involvement in All Def Digital in 2017 after several sexual-assault allegations came to light. Numerous women accused the media mogul of raping them; Simmons denied all the allegations. According to Blackwell, Simmons hasn’t had an ownership interest in ADD since early 2018.
No one knows the truth, which is the scariest part of it,” says one former employee who requested anonymity. “I don’t think anyone’s ever been told the truth in that building. The way Chris is talking about it now makes it sound even crazier.”
Simmons, the co-founder of music label Def Jam Recordings, originally launched ADD as a YouTube network in 2013 in partnership with AwesomenessTV. The company expanded into a multiplatform network and studio, which had deals with HBO and YouTube for originals, along with live events, and brand partnerships through its in-house agency ADHD.
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