The film centers on Drew Dixon, one of more than 20 women who have come forward with accusations of sexual assault against the Def Jam co-founder.
On The Record, a forthcoming documentary on the allegations of sexual abuse brought against Russell Simmons in 2017, had a big night at its Sundance Film Festival premiere on Saturday.
According to an early review from Billboard, the film was met with two seperate standing ovations in Park City; one upon the arrival of the film’s directors, Amy Ziering and Kirby Dick, another as the closing credits rolled. Prior to last night’s premiere, some wondered if the doc would ever hit a screen, big or small, after co-executive-prooducer, Oprah Winfrey, distanced herself from the film and scrapped her credit.
READ: Oprah Steps Down as Executive Producer for Upcoming Documentary on Russell Simmons’ Sexual Abuse Allegations
In a statement, Winfrey noted that she was pressured by Simmons himself to step away from the film, but claimed his insistence had nothing to do with her decision. With Winfrey’s departure, On The Record‘s distribution deal with Apple TV dissolved, leaving the film’s future in an uncertain state. Per Billboard‘s report, the film follows former Def Jam A&R, Drew Dixon, as she weighs whether to go public with her accusations against the label’s co-founder. In the film, she claims Simmons raped her in his apartment in 1995. Dixon’s story was published in a New York Times interview in 2017, which opened the door for more than 20 other women to come forward with their own stories of rape, sexual misconduct, and abuse.
Dixon also claims that once she’d finally left Def Jam for Atlantic in 1995, the calm was quick. In the film, she alleges that L.A. Reid, who took over for Clive Davis at the label, harassed her. And in retaliation for declining his advances, refused to sign her discoveries, Kanye West and John Legend.