Oprah Steps Down as Executive Producer for Upcoming Documentary on Russell Simmons’ Sexual Abuse Allegations

(Photo by Steven Senne-Pool via Getty Images)

Winfrey’s departure stems from a creative disagreement with the film’s directors.

The still-untitled documentary on the women accusing Russell Simmons of sexual violence will move forward without executive producer, Oprah Winfrey.

READ: Oprah Addresses Backlash Over Covering Leaving Neverland: “I Don’t Regret It”

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Winfrey stepped down from her role and had her name removed from the credits over a disagreement with the film’s directors, Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering. In a statement, Winfrey explained her exit, noting the decision stemmed from the directors insisting the film heads to Sundance, even though she did not believe it to be complete. Winfrey notes, “First and foremost, I want it to be known that I unequivocally believe and support the women. Their stories deserve to be told and heard. In my opinion, there is more work to be done on the film to illuminate the full scope of what the victims endured, and it has become clear that the filmmakers and I are not aligned in that creative vision.”

READ: Oprah and Quincy Jones to Produce Film Adaptation of The Color Purple Musical

Before her departure from the project, the film was slated to premiere on Apple TV+ as an exclusive to the streamer, but that appears to be off the table now. Though Apple’s description omitted the name of the woman on which the film is centered, a Sundance logline revealed it to be Drew Dixon, the former Def Jam Records exec who went public with her accusation of rape (along with two other women,) in a 2017 interview with The New York Times.


Zo is a staff writer at Okayplayer where he covers music.

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