Hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons has been spending a lot of time at — and tweeting about — the recent Occupy Wall Street protests. So when he heard that the city planned to evict protesters from the privately-owned Zuccotti Park so it could be cleaned, he stepped in and offered to pay for a post-protest cleanup.
“Dear [Mayor] Mike Bloomberg,” Simmons tweeted. “I will pay for cleanup of Zuccotti Park to avoid confrontation. I don’t wanna go to jail but I will be there ready!”
Luckily, Simmons won’t be forced to go to jail to prove his point. The park’s owners canceled the cleaning. Which is good because as Simmons, who is worth an estimated $340 million, pointed out, “Holding the line & getting arrested 2day might hurt my future employment.”
But some of the protesters aren’t convinced the Simmons even belongs in their midst, accusing him and other high profile visitors — including Kanye West, Samuel L. Jackson, Tim Robbins and the Rev. Al Sharpton — of merely taking an opportunity to get a little free press.
“Once the cops come in here and start beating heads, where are they going to be?” one protester said to the Los Angeles Times.
For his part, Simmons says he’d be happy to pay more taxes if that would help.