HBO Max Acquires Rights to Documentary on Russell Simmons' Sexual Misconduct Allegations
The film debuted at the Sundance Film Festival last week.
On Monday, HBO Max announced its purchase of “On the Record,” a documentary detailing alleged sexual misconduct of Def Jam co-founder Russell Simmons. According to IndieWire, the purchase is HBO’s first of the film festival circuit.
The documentary originally boasted Oprah Winfrey as an executive producer. However, before the film’s debut at Sundance, Winfrey distanced herself from the project. Shortly after, Apple TV+ pulled its distribution deal. In the wake of the deal’s dissolution, HBO Max entered the picture.
The film focuses primarily on Drew Dixon, a former employee of Simmons at Def Jam. Dixon and four other accusers appear in the documentary. Filmmakers Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering produced the project.
Previously, both directors have documented institutional abetting of sexual misconduct. Dick’s 2005 documentary Twist of Faith detailed sexual abuse in the Catholic church. The documentary received an Academy Award nomination for Best Documentary Feature. Ziering joined Dick to direct the 2012 documentary The Invisible War, which examines sexual assault in the United States’ Armed Forces.
HBO Max’s head of original content, Sarah Aubrey, discussed the deal in an official statement.
“The fierce determination of Drew Dixon and all of the women who bravely chose to share their stories in ‘On the Record’ moved us profoundly. I’ve been impressed with Amy and Kirby’s work covering this complex subject matter,” Aubrey said, “and look forward to this film finding the widest possible audience.”
HBO Max is will launch in May 2020. The streaming service’s lineup will include the HBO lineup, as well as a slate of new original series.