Joe Budden Apologizes To DJ Olivia Dope After Her Sexual Harassment Claims
Update #2 (May 18th): Joe Budden has issued an apology to DJ Olivia Dope after she accused him of sexually harassing her on multiple occasions when she was a co-host on his See, The Thing Is podcast.
Joe Budden said in a statement released today (May 18th)
“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.”
Original Story (May 17th): While all eyes are on the drama surround Joe Budden’s podcast, a former employee of Joe Budden Network is speaking out against him.
Olivia Dope, who was a co-host on See, The Thing Is podcast until this past February, explained why she left after three months with the network.
She said in a video uploaded to Instagram Monday (May 17th) that she quit after Episode 16 of the podcast, stating:
“At 14:34, there’s an edit in the recording because Joe [Budden] says him and I should speak more because ‘He’s been wanting to f*** me since we met.’ Everyone in the studio, including production staff, laughed uncomfortably while one of my co-hosts confirmed that to be true.”
“I am mortified by this revelation. Not only because it’s revealed while we are amongst the presence of all of the production staff, but it’s also being done while we’re recording audio, as well as visual. That scene was cut out. It jumps to Joe repeating we should speak more because we have the least dialogue.”
She said another incident occurred at the 19:26 mark of the episode.
“Another edit happened because Joe makes another suggestion to having sex with me… That scene is edited out and what is shown right after that is me closing my eyes saying ‘No’, and then he says ‘Never mind.'”
She went on to say,
“At 21:30 Joe tells me to ‘Hit a button b****’ because I didn’t hit a sound effect fast enough. At 24:54, Joe makes a comment that I’m throwing my singleless 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 as it’s transpiring. I reply back. I say ‘Sorry Joe we’re not.” At 25:42 I make a comment about relationships in general with the conversation, Joe retorts that my shirt that I’m wearing isn’t buttoned like I’m single. I pause, cover my chest with hand, and try to brush it off once again…”
She said at around the 31-minute mark, Joe “makes me feel like I’m in a hostile work environment by letting my co-hosts know that I am carrying the group because they don’t dress sexy enough.”
She said she was humiliated being “objectified” and also made her female co-workers “uncomfortable by telling them they don’t dress sexy enough.”
She reiterated that the comments were made while recording and in the presence of the entire production staff.
Olivia Dope said this wasn’t the first time he made comments like this, accusing Joe Budden of creating tension between her and the other co-hosts, including one who confessed to “shutting down every idea I brought to the table because it wasn’t well-received by Joe and his business partner.”
She continued and said during a break, Joe Budden checked on her in the dressing room and told her he’d come back to give a hug on air to “lighten the mood.”
“Two hours, 16 minutes and three seconds into the show, Joe returns and he mentions us and giving us our accolades as we’ve been doing good thus far… He goes down the line to give everyone their accolades… Once he gets to me, the scene is edited again because he says ‘Olivia is unique because I wanna f*** Olivia and the fans love her.’ That scene is edited out, the words are edited out, but what’s left there is me widening my eyes in shock and embarrassment because after he asked if I was okay and he said he would come back to lighten the mood, I didn’t thin he would once again reference wanting to have sex with me.”
He later asked if he could an on-air hug.
“Still apprehensive, I give him a hug somewhat at a distance… no pelvis there.”
She said she didn’t know until she saw the episode that he was “moving his hips while he was hugging me.”
“At 2 hours, 17 minutes, and 38 seconds, after I sit down after the on-air hug, I grab the microphone and I say ‘This is uncomfortable.’ That’s pretty much the end of the episode that was recorded.”
When Olivia Dope said during the hug Joe Budden asked for, he was moving his hips I had to go see for myself.. and what the fuck. This is at the end of the podcast after making sexual comments about her throughout the episode. This is her boss??? I’d quit too pic.twitter.com/FS12BuiGVU
— astro tingz (@saturnbestie) May 17, 2021
She added that Joe didn’t care if they deleted the parts of his inapprorpriate comments. She was then called back into the studio to decide if she wanted to keep the parts. She said,
“I’ve already been belittled in this situation by being sexually harassed and objectified… At the end of the day that’s what sexually harassment in the workplace is. Belittling someone. Taking away their dignity in those moments of seeing those less than. As much as we can say these are jokes, I’m an employee. I didn’t have a previous rapport with this person before coming on to this podcast, I didn’t have any romantic relations with him nor did I want to at any given point in time in my life.”
She addressed critics who asked why she would work for Joe knownig his reputation and said,
“If you’re going to work, and your intention is to just go in and do your job, it should be just that – no matter who’s there… At no time should anybody feel comfortable enough to say anything of that nature to you.”
“I’m mortified that when people search Olivia Dope, the brand that I spent 10 years building, that comes up… I am mortified that I have to have a conversation with the child that I gave birth to because she can find it on the internet, her friends can find it on the internet, her teachers can find it on the internet and say ‘Look it’s your mother.’ He belittled, sexually harassed, and called [her] a b****. I had to explain to her ‘That’s not how someone speaks to you.’ And told her ‘If someone does that you have to speak up.’ But I didn’t speak up until this point.”
She added that while there have been attempts to intimidate her, “I can’t be silenced.”
She said while she decided to keep the audio, her co-host Mandii B told her she looked uncomfortable and the moments should be removed.
She ended by telling women who want to work with him to reconsider,and said she should have done her own research.
“Regardless of that, no one should ever feel comfortable enough to speak the way that person spoke to me. Ever. No one should ever feeel comfortable enough to make a workplace environment completely hostile and toxic the way that eprson did. No one should ever feel like they can be sexually explicit and suggestive, not only to you, while you’re coming in just trying to work, but also in front of the entire production staff to belittle you.”
She said after announcing her decision to leave, she was removed fromt he group chat, and Joe made an inapprorpriate statement on the issue on his own podcast. He said,
“If I hire any women I’m gonna wanna f*** them b****es.”
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