Oprah recently removed herself from the documentary after citing creative differences with its directors.
After recently leaving the upcoming documentary on Russell Simmons‘ sexual assault allegations because of creative differences with its directors, Oprah Winfrey has shared that Simmons pressured her to withdraw from the film.
Winfrey was credited as an executive producer on On the Record, but has since removed herself from the documentary and pulled its forthcoming release on Apple TV+. (However, it will be premiering on January 25 at Sundance.) Although Simmons didn’t have anything to do with this, Winfrey did admit that the entertainment mogul pressured her to leave the doc.
In a New York Times report, Winfrey said Simmons “reached out multiple times and attempted to pressure me,” as well sent her multiple “frightened” calls and text messages. Simmons also made posts on social media speaking out against Winfrey’s involvement in the project, as well as his accusers.
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#Repost @unclerush when documentary was announced.. Dearest OPRAH,you have been a shining light to my family and my community. Contributing so much to my life that I couldn’t list a fraction of it in this blog.Ihave given you the gift of meditation and the groundbreaking book”THE POWER OF NOW “we bonded to say the least. This is why it’s so troubling that you choose me to single out in your recent documentry. I have already admitted to being a playboy more (appropriately titled today “womanizer”) sleeping with and putting myself in more compromising situations than almost any man I know. Not 8 or 14 thousand like warren Beatty or Wilt Chamberlain, but still an embarrassing number. So many that some could reinterpret or reimagine a different recollection of the same experiences. Your doc is focused on 3 hand chosen women. I have refused to get in the mud with any accusers, but let’s acknowledge what i have shared. I have taken and passed nine 3-hour lie detector tests (taken for my daughters), that these stories have been passed on by CNN, NBC, BUZZFEED, NY POST, NY MAG, AND OTHERS. Now that you have reviewed the facts and you SHOULD have learned what I know; that these stories are UNUSABLE and that “hurt people hurt people”. Today I received a call from an old girlfriend from the early 1980s which means that they are using my words/evidence against me and their COMMITMENT/ (all of the claims are 25 to 40 years old) It is impossible to prove what happened 40 years ago, but in my case PROOF EXISTS of what didn’t happen, mostly signed letters from their own parents, siblings, roommates, band members, interns, and in the case of 2 of your 3 accusers,their own words in their books. Shocking how many people have misused this important powerful revolution for relevance and money. … In closing, I am guilty of exploiting, supporting, and making the soundtrack for a grossly unequal society, i have even been unconsciously callous , but i have never been violent or forced myself on anyone. Still I am here to help support a necessary shift in power and consciousness. Let us get to work on uplifting humanity and put this moment and old narrative behind us Love you
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“I told him directly in a phone call that I will not be pressured either into, or out of, backing this film,” Winfrey said to the Times. “I am only going to do what I believe to be the right thing.”
On January 10, Winfrey announced that she was leaving the documentary, saying that although she believed the victim (the film is primarily centered on one of Simmons’, Drew Dixon), she felt the film was being rushed to Sundance “before I believe it is complete.”
Source: New York Times