The clip features an actress portraying Tubman having sex with her white slave master as someone films it so the abolitionist can bribe her boss. The "Harriet Tubman Sex Tape" video was posted Wednesday.
The 55-year-old Simmons, founder of Def Jam Records, wrote Thursday that he "can now understand why so many people are upset." He said he removed the video after a call from the NAACP.
Simmons added that he doesn't condone violence against women and that he's "sincerely sorry" to those offended by the clip. Though Simmons removed the video, it still lives online.
Tubman spent nearly 30 years as a slave before escaping in 1849. She led hundreds of slaves to freedom as part of the anti-slavery resistance network known as the Underground Railroad.
Russell Simmons' apology: http://tinyurl.com/mpbourt/
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.