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Oprah Winfrey Distances Herself from Russell Simmons Accuser Documentary

Oprah Winfrey, Golden Globe Awards (Reuters)

Oprah Winfrey, Golden Globe Awards (Reuters)

Oprah Winfrey had boarded the project in December as an executive producer and it was set to stream on Apple TV Plus but that will no longer happen.

  • PTI
  • Last Updated: January 12, 2020, 11:58 AM IST
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Media mogul Oprah Winfrey has disassociated herself from upcoming documentary about disgraced American entrepreneur and producer Russell Simmons.

The yet-to-be-titled documentary, directed by Amy Ziering and Kirby Dick, is based on the stories of some of the 20 women who have publicly accused Simmons of sexual harassment and assault.

Winfrey had boarded the project in December as an executive producer and it was set to stream on Apple TV Plus but that will no longer happen, reported Deadline.

"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+. 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," Winfrey said in a statement.

The popular TV personality also said she believes there is still more work need to be done 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".

Winfrey added that she took the decision to exit the project as she believes the movie is not yet complete but Ziering and Dick want it to be screened at the Sundance Film Festival.

"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.

"I will be working with Time's Up to support the victims and those impacted by abuse and sexual harassment," she added.

In their first response after Winfrey's departure, Ziering and Dick said that while they were "disappointed" that she pulled her name from the project, they were "gratified that Winfrey has unequivocally said she believes and supports the survivors in the film".

"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.

"The film is a beacon of hope for voices that have long been suppressed, and an inspiration for anyone wanting to regain their personal power," the filmmaker duo said.

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