Russell Simmons Explains Support for Occupy Wall Street: "We Should Stop the Legal Bribery of Our Politicians"

russell ows Russell Simmons Explains Support for Occupy Wall Street: "We Should Stop the Legal Bribery of Our Politicians"

Russell Simmons and Kanye West at Occupy Wall Street Last Week

Last night, The Observer ran into Russell Simmons at a gala for the Somaly Mam Foundation. Wearing a bow-tie and a wide brim Yankees cap, the veteran vegan and Goodwill Ambassador to the United Nations waxed political with us before dinner. Although the the fashion/music mogul was being honored at the event for his commitment to combating human trafficking, he spoke to us about another cause he has recently supported: Occupy Wall Street.

“It crystallized to me when I saw a sign, ‘I bought this sign because I couldn’t afford a politician,'” Mr. Simmons explained. “And I just knew…that the lobbyists’ influence, and…corporate money’s influence, in Washington was a deterrent to the real process of democracy,” he said, speaking excitedly, at times almost incomprehensibly. Mr. Simmons has been seen at the Occupy Wall Street protests multiple times in the past several weeks.

“No one wants to believe that the politicians are co-opted by corporations. That’s an American issue, it’s non partisan, that every voter should believe in… and that will really change a lot,” Mr. Simmons continued.

“Every single thing that ill affects the poor has some legislation promoted by some corporation that some politician yielded to. Instead of representing the people, he represented the corporation. And that’s really a major issue. So if we can stop the legal bribery in Washington, we can change the course of this country and get back to a true democracy,” he explained, exhibiting a healthy dose of cynicism.

“Somewhere in the world America is overlooking something because some politician is being paid legally to turn his head,” he said, going meta on us. “We go to war in part, a little bit, because some lobbyist said so. And that lobbyist is for a company whose making money off that war.”

Sensing that he had confused his message, he suddenly paused. “I didn’t say it simple enough,” he said. “We should stop the legal bribery of our politicians. The politicians should work for the people and not the corporations,” he said, consciously articulating each word. At this point, a handler swooped in and whisked Mr. Simmons away to his seat.

Vive la revolution, Monsieur Simmons!


  1. The republicans are in bed with business because they realize business is what built America. The republicans believe that buisness makes better decisions than government officials. The democrat party is in bed with business because they can sell their influence and stay in office and they know the money comes from business.

  2. Leo53 says:

    Hi, Russell  my name is carolyn roberts I am born and raised in bronx, new york. I relocated in 2007 to panama city florida. I am an educated woman, I have at least 114 college credits. I attend gulf coast state college, I will be coming out may of 2012. I am 58 years old. I was watching atlanta housewifes, and heard you say that you like younger women. My question to you: Do you think I am to old to be in school, and looking for a new career, I feel young at heart. I am having a hard time finding a full time job with benefits. I married in 2004 that how I came to panama city florida with my husband. My whole family is in new york! I would like to know your opinion. My email address is