Days after Oprah Winfrey rescinded her involvement as an executive producer for On The Record, a documentary about allegations of misconduct against Russell Simmons, she has revealed why in an interview with The New York Times.
In the interview, Winfrey revealed that Simmons reached out to her more than once to convince her to drop her involvement in the film.
“He did reach out multiple times and attempted to pressure me,” Winfrey said. “I told him directly in a phone call that I will not be pressured either into or out of, backing this film.” Winfrey ultimately dropped out from On The Record as an EP, citing her decision due to creative differences between herself and filmmakers Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering. “I am only going to do what I believe to be the right thing,” Winfrey said.
She also said on CBS This Morning, “This is not a victory for Russell. I unequivocally say that I did not pull out because of Russell. This is not a victory lap for him. I cannot be silenced by a Russell Simmons after all I’ve been through.”
On The Record is set to make its world premiere soon at the Sundance Film Festival. The documentary reportedly follows a former music executive who decides whether or not to move forward with her story of assault against a prominent mogul, with that person allegedly being Simmons. Winfrey has also pulled On The Record from distribution on Apple TV+.
“I don’t care about awards—I just care about getting it right, and I think there are some inconsistencies in the stories that we need to look at. I wanted the context of the story to be broadened, I wanted more women brought into the story,” she said.
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