Oprah Winfrey has decided to leave a documentary that is allegedly going to metaphorically put Russell Simmons on trial.
“I have decided that I will no longer be executive producer on The Untitled Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering documentary and it will not air on Apple TV+,” the billionaire mogul told The Hollywood Reporter.
She expounded on why she decided not to continue, focusing on the need for a more comprehensive look at sexual abuse, harassment and rape.
”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 Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering are talented filmmakers.
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," Winfrey continued. "I will be working with Time’s Up to support the victims and those impacted by abuse and sexual harassment.”
Time's Up Foundation president and CEO Tina Tchen responded in a terse statement.
“Time's Up is in full support of the survivors who have spoken out about Russell Simmons. These women are brave. We believe them. We support Oprah Winfrey in maintaining that the victims’ stories deserve to be heard on their own terms.
Too often, Black women are silenced, disbelieved, or even vilified when they speak out. On top of that, for years, these women have been attacked by powerful forces surrounding Russell Simmons – illustrating how difficult it is to speak out against powerful men. And how important it is for powerful men to be held accountable for their actions.
As Oprah made clear in her statement, any decision by her and Apple regarding this documentary does not change the underlying facts. We assert Time's Up's unwavering support for these survivors. We are in awe of their courage and strength. We will continue to fight for them, and we will continue to fight for a future where Black women are truly heard and believed.”