HBCU family, remember late last year when Russell Simmons took to Instagram to post an open letter to Oprah Winfrey in regards to her role as executive producer on an Apple+ documentary focusing on sexual misconduct claims against him?
Well, the Tennessee State University graduate announced that she will no longer serve as executive producer, stepping aside from the documentary.
According to an official statement, Winfrey said “I have great respect for their mission but given the filmmakers’ desire to premiere the film at the Sundance Film Festival before I believe it is complete, I feel it’s best to step aside. I will be working with Time’s Up to support the victims and those impacted by abuse and sexual harassment.”
Although stating that she “unequivocally believes and supports the women” behind the allegations, she explained that her decision stems from her belief that “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.”
The yet-to-be-titled documentary mainly focuses on former Def Jam executive Drew Dixon, who accused Simmons of rape a few years back. Simmons has repeatedly denied both the latter accusation and the dozen other sexual misconduct claims he’s been denounced of throughout the years.
The filmmakers behind the documentary, Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering, said in a statement, “Revealing hard truths is never easy, and the women in our documentary are all showing extraordinary strength and courage by raising their voices to address sexual abuse in the music industry,” taking the film to Sundance.
”While we are disappointed that Oprah Winfrey is no longer an executive producer on the project, we are gratified that Winfrey has unequivocally said she believes and supports the survivors in the film,” the duo said.