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‘My Words and Power in That Situation Created an Upsetting Environment’: Joe Budden Apologizes After Being Accused of Sexual Harassment By Former Employee DJ Olivia Dope

Retired rapper Joe Budden has issued an apology to former employee DJ Olivia Dope. Earlier this week, DJ Dope, whose real name is Tamika Haywood, accused Budden’s podcast boss of sexual harassment. 

In a post uploaded to her Instagram account on Monday, May 17, Haywood alleged that Budden was in attendance during episode 16 of the “See, the Things Is” podcast. The audio series has an all-female panel, including singer Bridget Kelly and podcaster Mandi B. The show is also featured on the Joe Budden Network. 

Joe Budden apologizes after DJ Olivia Dope accused him of sexual harassment. Photo: y Phillip Faraone/Getty Images for REVOLT. Noam Galai/Getty Images for HBO

In a 25-minute clip posted to her Instagram page, Haywood explained the reason behind her exit from the show and the JBP Network after three months. Visibly uncomfortable, the DJ stated the “Pump It Up” rapper “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 those sexual remarks to me.”

Haywood called the experience not only “traumatizing” but “embarrassing.” She added, “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 not only to help heal myself but also to probably help others in the future and let them know  that this probably wouldn’t the best situation to enter into.”

Just one day after Haywood released her video, Budden issued a statement, captured by Rolling Stone taking full accountability for the incident that transpired. “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,” Budden began. “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.”

He continued: “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.”

Earlier this month, Budden made headlines when he fired two of his longtime co-hosts, Rory and Mal, from the “Joe Budden Podcast.” The news sent shock waves throughout social media. Many accused Budden of being a hypocrite. The host had often implored artists and content creators to understand the ins and outs of their business dealings and contracts. However, when his two former co-hosts seemingly did the same, Budden was furious. “He still feels like he has choices and options. He feels like he’s entitled to more. Rory, you are in breach of your contract, and from this point forward, you are fired, and you are not welcome back,” Budden said on air, addressing Rory. The former rapper has since apologized for his behavior. 

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